BANGLADESH HAS BEEN crowned winners of the Inner London Football League for the second time. An astonishing final saw Bangladesh beat Nigeria 6-2
The early group games commenced with Bangladesh facing Nigeria, and it was the past champions who drew first blood by taking a 2-0 lead into half-time courtesy of Sadiq Ahmed and Ahbab Hussain. A talented and ultra fit Nigeria turned the screw in the second half and came back strong with three goals to completely turn the game on its head.
The introduction of Gulzar Hussain enabled the wingers to exploit the flanks and Abul Hasnath (Polash) skipped in to level the game at 3-3. More importantly, an astonishing double save from Helal Uz Zaman was critical to Bangladesh avoiding defeat.
With a challenging first game out of the way, the second group fixture against Turkiye was a smoother affair as Team Bangladesh used their on-field familiarity and composure to exert their influence across the pitch. Ash Rahman and Abdul Muquith Dipon were durable at the back and a resounding 6-1 victory was the outcome. Two goals from Hashu Miah and Polash set the ball rolling, with Ahbab and Sadiq completing the win.
The third game against tournament favourites Portugal was a tight affair. With captain Abdul Wahid instrumental, Bangladesh took a comfortable two goal lead through Sadiq and Hashu before the dangerous Portuguese pulled one back. Stout defending from the outstanding Emranul Hoque alongside Aminur Rahman and the strong forward hold up play of Abdul-Kaium Ali were key features of the game as Bangladesh progressed to the semi-finals to face World Cup holders Colombia.
The last four encounter was a marked display of the winning temperament and camaraderie within the squad as for the first time in the tournament Bangladesh fell behind to an early goal. A test of character was in order but Bangladesh remained patient in possession and belief, and a succession of three quick substitutions resulted in three goals.
Wahid converted from the spot as Colombia conceded a penalty. Hashu changed the game with a crucial second, and the indomitable Shiblu Miah wrapped up an impressive 3-1 win with a rasping drive.
Emdad Rahman MBE (Head Coach)
Muhammed Nashir (Assistant Manager)
Hassan Abdullah – Abdul Aziz – Abdul Basit – Jakir Ahmed – Abdul Hakim – Helal Uz Zaman –
Abdul Hanif – Ashrafur Khan – Abdul Muquith (Dipon) – Emranul Hoque – Abdul Wahid
– Gulzar Hussain – Ruhul Amin (Alamin) – Abul Hasnath (Polash) – Sadiq Ahmed –
Aminur Rahman – Ahbab Hussain – Shiblu Miah – Hassan Abdullah
The final was a spectacle, and the greatest this competition has seen as Bangladesh romped home 6-2 against a very competent Nigerian team. The Super Eagles had seen off England in the semi-finals on penalties and faced the Tigers in a repeat of their first group game.
The resounding win saw Bangladesh take an outstanding 4-0 lead into the half time break courtesy of Polash, Wahid (pen), Kaium and Hashu. The opposition came back strong and just like the first head to head, the Eagles scored two quick fire second-half goals in a minute to completely open up the final.
Bangladesh had learnt from that first encounter and Ruhul Amin (Alamin) scored a crucial fifth to add breathing space. The nippy winger sealed a historic win with a sixth. Abdul Hanif and Hassan Abdullah came on to join Wahid as double World Cup winners.
Bangladesh dominance during the game allowed every single squad member to be rotated throughout the final. Tigers’ Captain Wahid lifted the World Cup amid jubilant scenes as Emdad Rahman’s men retained the crown they last won in 2018.
World Cup co-ordinator Nanu Miah commented, “Today we have witnessed another historic day as we brought together and used football as a spectacle to showcase the very best of our communities here in Britain. We are proud to have united our communities. Well done Bangladesh – this great event will inspire many people, young and old.”
Inner London Football League Chair Rashid Ali added, “A magnificent achievement by the two time winners and respect and all credit are reserved for the head coach, the backroom team and the players for entertaining us all with dazzling football throughout the day – you are all worthy winners.”
Bangladesh Head Coach Emdad Rahman concluded, “This result is right up there with the very best and it was a day when Bangladesh were brilliant, playing a mouthwatering brand of football that oozed class and sophistication from start to finish.
“This squad takes community responsibility very seriously and we hope this triumph will inspire and benefit numerous people in numerous ways. I want to thank my players and my management team for winning with style and dignity. Thank you to the Inner London Football League and Chair Rashid Ali for having the faith to hand me leadership of this distinguished and exceptional team.”
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