SAFF U-15 Champs: Stage set for Bangladesh-Pakistan final Saturday


Sports Desk:

Bangladesh will play Pakistan in the final of the six-nation SAFF U-15 Championship on Saturday (November 3) at ANFA Complex in Lalitpur, Nepal.

The title-deciding match will kick off at 2:45 pm Bangladesh time.

Bangladesh smartly reached the final of the six-nation South Asian U-15 soccer meet with all-win record eliminating their neighbour India by 4-2 goals in tie-breaker at ANFA Complex in Lalitpur on Thursday morning.

The first semifinal between the two teams was locked in 1-1 goal in the stipulated period to roll into the tie-breaker.

In the day’s crucial first semifinal, Patre Harsh Shailesh put India ahead in the 17th minute by a long distance shot from about 35 yards, amid huge celebrations of Indian players and their fans (1-0).

When the match was almost heading for Indian victory, Ashiqur Rahman scored the match equaliser in the 3rd minute of the stoppage time from a penalty (1-1) leading the match towards the tie-breaker.

In the penalty shootout, Bangladeshi substitute custodian Mehedi Hasan made situation easy for Bangladesh foiling the first two Indian attempts.

Bangladesh players Towhidul Islam Hridoy, Raza Ansar, Raju and Rustam converted all the four spot kicks correctly while Indian booters spoiled two out of four.

In the day’s 2nd semifinal, Pakistan made an easy passage to final eliminating hosts Nepal by 4-0 goals at the same venue in the afternoon.

After a barren first half, Mohibullah struck twice in the 59th and 68th minutes, both from penalty, while Midassar Nazar netted the other goal for Pakistan in the 77th minute after they took lead in the 54th minute by a suicidal goal.

After winning the semifinal, Head Coach of Bangladesh Mostafa Anwar Parvez Babu said, “We had a great victory against India in the semifinal but this is not the proper time to celebrate as we have devoted ourselves to making a plan for the final against Pakistan.”

After the match, Bangladesh Embassy in Nepal arranged a lunch in honour the victorious Bangladesh team.

Bangladesh qualified for the final of the SAFF U-15 Championship for the first time after losing to hosts Nepal in the semifinal in 2017. However, Bangladesh emerged champions in the SAFF U-16 Championship beating India, also in tie-breaker held in Sylhet in 2015.

With the day’s goal, Nihad Jaman Uchchash of Bangladesh was leading scorer list making four goals.

Earlier, Bangladesh emerged Group A champions with all-win record to reach the semifinals beating hosts Nepal by 2-1 goals in the last group match after crushing the Maldives by 9-0 goals in the first match, featuring a hat-trick by Nihad Jaman while Nepal outplayed the Maldives 4-0 in their first appearance on Thursday last.

After the group stages, Bangladesh (Group A) and Pakistan (Group B) clinched the group crown with all-win run to qualify for the semifinals securing full six points from straight two encounters while Nepal (Group A) and India (Group B) finished group runners-up to reach the semifinals, collecting three points from two matches.

On the other hand, Pakistan clinched Group B title beating India by 2-1 goals and Bhutan by 4-0 goals while India finished Group B runners-up beating Bhutan by 4-0 goals. unb


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