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Bangla booters to face India in semifinal today


Newsworldbd.com -12.02.2016

gonzalo_sanchez_moreno_0“Please, don’t lose the ball frequently; hold the ball as much as you can. If you make the same mistakes tomorrow [Saturday], then you will get no medals and will have to go back to Dhaka empty-handed,” was coach Gonzalo Sanchez Moreno’s appeal to his charges ahead of today’s semifinal match against hosts India at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati.

Having emerged as group champions with four points, defending champions Bangladesh achieved their first target of reaching the semifinals of the coveted event of the South Asian (SA) Games. However, Bangladesh’s performances in their matches against Bhutan and Nepal were not encouraging enough to suggest that they could thwart the hosts, who returned to the race boldly with a 3-2 win over Maldives after losing their first match to Sri Lanka.

It was understandable why former Barcelona youth team player Moreno, urged his troops to keep their cool on the pitch and maintain possession during yesterday’s training session, especially since keeping the ball has been a major problem for Bangladesh so far.

Nevertheless, two-time champions Bangladesh have no alternative but to display their best against the home side if they want to reach the final, a stage where Bangladesh have been ever-present — making it to the final during six of the eleven previous editions.

“Bangladesh are always favourites, but it’s not easy to play against any team in their backyard,” said Moreno. “If we want to win against India, we need to play controlled football. I spoke to the players and told them ‘don’t make mistakes and don’t lose control of possession. If you make mistakes tomorrow, you will have to pay a big price.”

The 43-year-old Spaniard addressed the players for ten minutes before the start of yesterday’s light training session at the outer stadium of the match venue. Most of his focus was on instructions about what to do and what to avoid doing against India. Having played two games in three days, the players were a bit worn out, so they had recovery sessions in the morning and afternoon. However, India are in better shape, getting an extra day’s rest.

“India played two matches seriously and they are strong opponents. But the most important thing is to play our football. If we can display our normal performance, it will be possible to post a win. Bangladesh is only focused about their performance, not that of the opposition,” said Moreno, who believes his charges will play better football on the pitch of the main stadium.
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“Tomorrow [Saturday] we will play on another ground which is supposed to be better than that of the last two venues, which was very very bad. I believe the players can deliver their standard performances on the new ground,” Moreno concluded, defending his charges, although at the start of the conservation the coach urged journalists not to file negative reports about the booters.




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