Bangladesh came back from a set down to beat Nepal 3-1 in the opening match of the Bangabandhu Asian Senior Men's Central Zone International Volleyball Championship at the Shaheed Suhrawardi Indoor Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The hosts, who had won the second edition of this tournament in Dhaka in 2016 before skipping the third edition in Maldives last year, clinched the first match of the six-team event, which also includes Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
It was a sweet revenge for the hosts who had lost both the friendly matches against their Nepalese counterparts during a two-match series in Kathmandu last year.
After a lengthy opening ceremony, Alipour Aroji's charges made a strong start to the game, taking a five-point lead midway through the first set. However, their game suddenly tapered off and a number of unforced errors saw them concede the lead before eventually losing the set by 24-26 points.
However, the men in red and green bounced back in style and led the second set handsomely before closing it out 25-18. They only grew stronger in the third set and made light work of their opposition in a 25-14 point win in the third set.
The team from the Himalayan nation though, fought back strongly in the fourth set, taking it down to the wire. The match-deciding set proved to be a rollercoaster affair, but Bangladesh's might eventually prevailed as they claimed five straight points to take the set 25-21, thereby sealing the victory.
Although it ended in a convincing win for the hosts, things could have gone wrong had they failed to seize the initiatives in key moments of the game. They grew strong mentally as the game wore on and did not let the opposition get their noses in front. Horosit Biswas, who is wearing the captain's armband in place of regular skipper Al Zabir, admitted that there were a few nerves in the beginning.
“We did not make a good start. Our receiving and blocking was not good in the first set,” he said. “After the opening set, the coach told us to improve those aspects. He also pointed out some technical and tactical stuff which helped us improve our performance in the following sets.”
“It can happen in volleyball. The important thing is to recover quickly from your mistakes. Nepal are a good side, but we had beaten them before. So we knew we could win,” said the captain, who also thanked the federation officials and other dignitaries for supporting the home team with their presence.
Bangladesh will play their next match, their last game of Group A, against Maldives on Monday. Before that, Nepal will play against Maldives in the second game of Group A today after Kyrgyzstan take on Turkmenistan in a group B fixture earlier in the day.