Bangladesh’s hopes of reaching the inaugural SAFF Under-19 Championship final were dashed on Thursday when they lost to India 4-3 in a sudden-death in the second semi-final at the ANFA Complex in Lalitpur, Nepal. Defender Rahmat Miah sent the ball over the bar after India’s Daniel successfully converted their first shot of the sudden-death to break the hearts of Bangladesh team.
The match went into sudden death after two teams were locked to 3-3 in tie-breaker as the stipulated 90 minutes ended in a goalless draw.
The tie-breaker was full of suspense as India’s Lalram missed the opening penalty to give Bangladesh an early edge. Captain Masuk Mia Jony and Rohit Sarker scored to give Bangladesh the lead but winger Ibrahim sent the ball wide to help India bounce back.
Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman appeared to have restored the lead when he saved India’s fourth shot, taken by Gursimrat. But referee ordered a retake and Gursimrat duly scored this time.
It came as a psychological blow for Bangladesh as Emon missed the fourth shot to give India the lead.
India could have won the match if Sarthak Gauli had scored but his shot hit the side post. Bangladesh’s Mannaf Rubby had to score to keep his side alive and he made no mistake taking the game into sudden death.
Earlier, India dominated the full 90 minutes but Bangladesh somehow managed to deny them a goal. They controlled the play in the midfield with their slick passing but lacked the cutting edge that could give them the edge.
Bangladesh made two changes in their line-up from their 1-2 defeat against Nepal bringing in Biswanath and Shakil for Biplu and Salahuddin to boost their defence.
Bangladesh coach Saiful Bari Titu appeared to have taken a pragmatic approach to restrict India, who seemed more organised than their previous two appearances.
Bangladesh keeper Anisur Rahman easily gripped a grounder of Lalram in the 13th minute.
Mannaf Rubby showed his class just six minutes later, taking the ball from almost halfway-line, the forward dribbled past four Indian defenders before taking a left-footed drive from just inside the box that went straight to the Indian keeper.
In the last minute of the four-minute added time, India’s number 10, Lalram saw his right-footed effort from the edge of the box went inches wide.
But the men in blue had their last laugh in the penalty shootout.
The result means India will now take on hosts Nepal in the final of the tournament on Saturday.
Earlier, in the day’s first semi-final, Nepal defeated Afghanistan by 3-2 goals to reach the final.
-With New Age input