SAFF Under-19 semi-finals today
Bangladesh look to bounce back from their defeat in the last group match against Nepal and cause an upset against favourites India in the second semi-final of the inaugural SAFF Under-19 Championship today. The match kicks off at the ANFA Complex in Kathmandu at 3:30pm Bangladesh Standard Time. Group-A champions and hosts Nepal will take on Afghanistan in other semi-final at the same venue.
Bangladesh confirmed their berth in the last four thanks to their 2-0 over Bhutan before an own goal in the dying moments condemned them to 2-1 defeat against Nepal.
‘To overcome the semi-final hurdle against India, who have a number of players from Indian Professional League at their disposal, Bangladesh must produce an improved show’, said coach Saiful Bari Titu.
‘We played well against Nepal and kept them on their toes always. But we did not get our desired result due to some mistakes which we must avoid against India,’ said Titu.
Titu also thinks that India are the strongest and most balanced side in the tournament and most of their players were technically, tactically and physically ahead of his charges.
‘We have to give our best to make the difference. I am happy as the boys are motivated for that,’ said Titu.
‘India will not allow us to go into attack directly because their midfield is more compact and we don’t have any alternatives but to launch attack through flanks’, said the coach.
‘We are thinking to keep the same strategy that we used against Nepal by utilising both the flanks but there will be some changes in game plans,’ he said.
One major concern for Titu, however, is the backline that committed two blunders against Nepal and paid the price.
‘I have worked to sort out the defensive problems that we had against Nepal. I am now thinking of making few changes in the backline and preparing the team for the penalty shootout if it is needed.’
-With New Age input