All the pre-tournament talk of taking inspiration from the past and playing with possession came to nothing as Bangladesh surrendered meekly to three-time champions Pakistan in a 0-7 defeat in their opening game of the Hero Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Mahbub Harun's charges were lacklustre all through the game and hardly ever threatened the opposition goal or stitched together a string of meaningful passes as they were mostly busy defending their own goal, albeit with trepidation, against a not-so-vintage-yet-effective Pakistan side.
The result was in keeping with the tradition of suffering heavy defeats against the men in dark green, but a far cry from the 1-0 defeat in the 1985 Asia Cup, which was expected to be the source of inspiration for the Men in Red.
For the record, Pakistan earned nine penalty corners (PC) and one penalty stroke while the hosts failed to earn any as they were completely dominated both in possession and attacking effort.
Tall forward Abu Mahmood scored three goals from penalty corners while Shakeel Ammad Butt and Arslan Qadir scored two apiece for Farhat Khan's charges.
The hosts started the game in a defensive fashion and were busy thwarting attacks from the Pakistanis, who looked short of sharpness in the opening period. Despite completely dominating the first quarter, it took Pakistan three minutes into the second quarter to break the deadlock, with Mahmood picking the top corner of the net from the team's second penalty corner.
In the same quarter, Bangladesh did make some kind of impression with skipper Rasel Mahmud Jimmy in thick of things during the period. The veteran skipper dodged past a couple of Pakistan defenders from the right in the 22nd minute and released the ball across the face of the goal, only to see Milon Hossain not able to connect with the ball.
Five minutes later, Jimmy produced a moment of magic as he sneaked his way past two Pakistan defenders on a forward-push and scooped the ball from inside the D, only to be denied by the post.
But everything went downhill for the hosts after that as Pakistan scored twice in quick succession at the start of the third quarter. Mamunur Rahman Chayan brought down a Pakistan player in the 33rd minute while Shakeel doubled the lead from the spot before Arslan deflected a fierce hit from Shan Ali for the third goal a minute later.
Mahmood then made the scoreline 4-0 from a PC before Shakeel showed his skill with a fantastic solo effort to further increase the lead seven minutes on. Mahmood grabbed his third from a PC three minutes later while Arslan wrapped up the victory with a reverse hit right before the end.
The hosts will try to dust themselves off when they play their next match tomorrow against India, who had earlier in the day breezed past Japan with a 5-1 win.
Two-time champions India, who came into the tournament following a disappointing campaign in the Hockey World League (HWL) semifinal round in England, took only three minutes to take the lead when Sunil Sowmapret put India ahead from a counter attack. However their lead lasted only one minute as a youthful Japan side hit back through a field goal from Kenji Kitazoto.
However, Japan, who lost all five of their matches during the HWL semifinal round, were rendered helpless against India -- the world's sixth-ranked side, who controlled the game nicely and scored one goal after another to leave the field with their heads held high.
Harmanpreet Singh converted two penalty corners while man-of-the-match Lalit Upadhyay and Cinglensana Kangujam struck one goal apiece for the Indians, whose last title came in 2007.