• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

India’s fortune takes a dip with last-minute goal

India U19 Women’s team conceded a goal in the dying minutes to leave the pitch with a frustrating 0-1 defeat against hosts and defending champions Bangladesh in their second round-robin match of the SAFF U19 Women’s Championship at the BSSSMK Stadium on Sunday, February 4, 2024.

While the win ensured Bangladesh’s entry into the final of the four-team round-robin, as they now have six points from two matches, the defeat left India in a vulnerable position. India’s chances of entering the final now depend on their last match against Nepal, who, like India, have three points as well. The Young Tigresses, however, have the advantage of a superior goal difference thanks to their 10-0 win over Bhutan in the earlier match.

After 90 minutes of a dodged fight in which India could claim the bragging rights of enjoying a slight upper hand in attacks, came the killing blow of a goal in injury time that snatched away three points from India. Bangladesh striker Sagorika followed up a long ball from skipper Afeida Khandaker on the counter to brush aside two defenders to find the net.

Sagorika, who scored two goals against Bhutan, was the danger girl in the Bangladesh forward line. She is fast, deceptive, and has the required skills to get past the defence. On more than one occasion, she harassed the Indian defence, but credit goes to the Indian defenders for keeping her relatively quiet for most of the match.

Unfortunately for the Indians, however, they couldn’t keep her under check when the clock was running towards the end. The Bangladesh coach, Saiful Bari Titu, a former international himself, used his ward intelligently to extract the best out of her.

Sunday is a working day in Bangladesh, but it didn’t deter a good number of football enthusiasts from thronging the stadium in support of their home side. They cheered their favourite team loudly and noisily all through and at the same time, were quick to appreciate any good move by the Young Tigresses.

Despite the defeat, India were certainly not discredited. They began in a whirlwind fashion, taking the battle into enemy territory right from the word go. Pooja, the hat-trick girl against Bhutan, was particularly menacing with her threatening runs from the left. Every time she touched the ball, the Bangladesh defence had to be on red alert as her pointed crosses created havoc.

In the 11th minute, Neha had the rival defence on their knees when she preferred to cut in to take a shot that had a goal written all over it. Bangladesh goalkeeper Swarna Rani Mondal stretched herself to the right before palming it away for a corner.

Unlike the first half, Bangladesh saw more of the attacks in the second half and had a few shots at the Indian goal. The lack of finishers was their main problem, but they kept on pressing to keep the Indian defence busy.

The hosts were particularly impressive with set pieces; a couple of corners by Sapna Rani had India in all sorts of trouble and the visitors were distinctly lucky not to concede a goal. Equally dangerous was a free-kick from the left that nearly landed in the Indian goal before being cleared off the line.

India had a good look at the rival goal in the 80th minute when a combined attack saw the Bangladesh custodian come out of her line to make a mess of it. But the Indians failed to take the momentary advantage.

India U19s: Anika Devi Sharubam, Sonibia Devi Irom, Viksit Bara, Thoibisana Chanu Toijam, Lalita Boypai (Shivani Toppo 41’), Sibani Devi Nongmeikapam, Nitu Linda, Pooja, Neha, Sulanjana Raul.

Source: AIFF

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