Bangladesh finished as runners-up of Group A of the SAFF Women’s Championship 2019 after a 0-3 defeat to hosts Nepal in their final group match at the Sahid Rangashala stadium in Biratnagar on Saturday.
Sabitra Bhandari of Nepal was the star of the match by scoring one goal and setting-up another goal. The other goal was an own goal.
Nepal, who defeated Bhutan in their opening match by identical margin, took control of the game from the very start and went ahead in the sixth minute thanks to an own goal by Masura Parvin.
Masura headed the ball into her own net while trying to clear a lob.
Sabitra, who was at the centre of most of the actions, missed a one-on-one chance a minute before their opening goal and wasted another opportunity in the 15th minute when her header whistled off the post.
The striker got her reward finally when she collected a forward pass in the 21st minute on the left side to beat advancing goalkeeper Rupna Chakma before placing the ball home.
Five minutes later Sabitra set up Manjali Yonjan the third goal of Nepal with a defence splitting pass as the latter made a cool finish on the left corner of the post.
Sabitra missed another chance in 64th minute when her shot from the left side narrowly missed the post.
Bangladesh coach Golam Rabbani Choton blamed his team’s inexperience for the defeat.
‘Today was another important learning opportunity for our players,’ Choton was quoted as saying by a Bangladesh Football Federation press release on Saturday.
‘We are a young team and it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. Slim errors were the reasons behind all three goals that we conceded.
‘You have to be disciplined, resilient and concentrate as Nepal is an experienced team.’
Bangladesh will now face Group B champions either India or Sri Lanka in the second semi-final.
Group A champions Nepal will take on the losers between India and Sri Lanka in the other semi-final,
Both India and Sri Lanka have already qualified for the semi-finals, having defeated Maldives 6-0 and 2-0 respectively.
They will face off today at the same ground to decide Group B. Both the semi-finals will be held on March 20.
The fifth edition of the tournament will run until March 22.
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