The Bangladesh hockey team moved into the Asian Games Qualifiers final with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Sri Lanka in the first semifinal encounter at the Sultan Qaboos Complex in Mascot, Oman yesterday.
Bangladesh, who had already qualified for the Asian Games when they entered the semifinals, will play the final tomorrow against the winners of the second semifinal between hosts Oman and Thailand, which was scheduled for last night.
Coming into the match on the back of three convincing wins against Thailand, Hong Kong and Afghanistan, Bangladesh faced a tough challenge from Sri Lanka, who they had thrashed 9-0 in a Hockey World League Round-2 fixture in Dhaka last year. Bangladesh trailed twice before they fought back hard for the win.
Sri Lanka were always a threat to Bangladesh ever since the latter lost to the former in a South Asian Games bronze-medal deciding match in Colombo in 2006. Bangladesh also struggled against the Islanders in the 2014 SA games but ultimately won 3-0 in shootouts.
The Lankans seemed likely to repeat their 2006 feat yesterday after taking the lead in the 34th minute through captain Sudusinghe Sandaruwan but Bangladesh's Roman Sarker stuck back in the 49th minute.
Sri Lanka restored the lead two minutes later with Sandaruwan converting a penalty stroke before Roman rescued Bangladesh in the 52nd minute by converting a penalty corner.
Striker Milon Hossain then scored in the 58th minute to ensure Bangladesh's final berth.