U-18 boys storm into SAFF final

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Sep 28,2019


Bangladesh players celebrate after defeating Bhutan in the semi-final of the SAFF Under-18 Championship 2019 at the APF Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday. — BFF photo

Bangladesh reached the final of the SAFF Under-18 Championship 2019 with a crushing 4-0 win over Bhutan in the first semi-final at the APF Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday.

Tanbir Hossain, Foysal Ahmed, Maraz Hossain and Dipok Roy scored one goal each for the winners.

Bangladesh took an early lead in the first half, when midfielder Tanbir headed the ball home from a throw-in by Kazi Rahad Mia in the 16th minute.

Bangladesh doubled the lead from a brilliant counterattack in the 27th minute, when forward Foysal found the back of the net with a left-footed drive from inside the box after receiving a pass from Fahim Morshed.

Five minutes later, Maraz made it 3-0 with a powerful shot from outside the box and Bangladesh went into the half-time with a commanding lead.

Bangladesh had the chance to score another goal in the 51st minute, when forward Amir Hakim dispossessed Bhutan’s Jigdrel Wangchuk and went past two more defenders before passing it to Foysal, but his left-footed drive missed the mark.

Bhutan had a better showing in the second half, trying to get back into the contest but couldn’t muster up any decisive attack.

Bhutan’s only real chance came in the 87th minute, when defender Sadekujjaman Fahim mistakenly headed the ball straight to Bhutanese forward Yeshi Dorji, but his right-footed  shot from the edge of the box was deflected by goalkeeper Shanto Kumer Ray.

Super-sub Dipok hit the final nail in the Bhutan’s coffin with a goal in the third minute of added time when his thunderous left-footed shot from outside the box entered the net.

Bangladesh’s English coach Andrew Peter Turner was pleased with his charges performance and was happy with the maturity shown by the young players.

‘I thought it was a very good performance. Again the team executed the plan very well. Bhutan were a decent side but I felt we had a little bit too much for them going forward,’ Andrew told reporters after the match.

‘We attacked very well, especially in the first half. And then we were a little bit more conservative in the second half.  And it was a very sensible game we played today. We played with good maturity and we came out deserving winners,’ he added.

In the other semi-final of the day, India thrashed Maldives by 4-0 and will now face Bangladesh in the final on Sunday.

Earlier, Bangladesh and India had a goalless draw in their group-phase encounter.

Bangladesh finished runners-up in the previous edition of the tournament in 2017, losing to Nepal 2-0 in the final in Bhutan.

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