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Bangladesh become runners-up in SAFF U-20 Championship

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 5th August, 2022 10:56:19 PM
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Bangladesh’s dream for maiden title in SAFF U-20 Championships was shattered again when they lost to the hosts and defending champions India by 2-5 goals in a thrilling final of the 4th edition of this age-level competition at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar Friday night.

Bangladesh, who became runners-up two times in 2017 and 2019, were on the verge of history as they entered into the final with an unbeaten run in the group stage, but three back-to-back goals in the extra time of the day's thrilling final faded away their hope for the title.  

Last year, Bangladesh's title dream was shattered when their 9-man team conceded a 1-2 goals defeat to the 10-man India in the final in 2019.

Both teams were reduced to 10-man each in the 22nd minute when India's Gurkirat Singh and Bangladesh's Md Fahim were given marching orders following a melee.

Later, Bangladesh were further reduced to 9-man as their skipper Yeasin Arafat conceded the second yellow card due to his illegitimate goal celebration.

The match went on extra time as it was tied up at 2-2 in the stipulated 90-minute.

For Bangladesh, defenders Md Rajon Howleder and Shahin Mia scored one each in the 45th, 48th minutes and for India, forward Gurkirat Singh leveled the margin in the 2nd and 60th minutes.

The boys in red and green, who were magnificent in the stipulated 90-minute, displayed their worst ever performance in the first half of the extra time. As a result, Indian forwards got chances to score three goals within a span of just 7-minute.

Indian forward Himanshu Jangra struck first with his left-footed shot to the far post in the 92nd minute (3-2).

Just after one minute, Gurkirat completed hat-trick scoring his third goal with a left-footed angular shot in the 93rd minute (4-2) and finally sealed the fate of the match scoring his fourth goal of the day with an eye-catching long-range shot from outside the box in the 99th minute (5-2).   

Earlier, Bangladesh got an early blow when Maldivian referee Sinan Hussain whistled for a penalty in the favor of the hosts India within the few seconds of the starting the match.

Bangladesh goalkeeper Md Asif blocked Indian forward Gurkirat to create a dangerous attempt after rebounding a long range powerful shot from Indian forward Himanshu Jangra inside the box.

But the Maldivian referee found the goalkeeper's action illegal and signaled a penalty to the opponents. India's top scorer Gurkirat seized the chance and made no mistake to convert the spot kick correctly (1-0).

But Bangladesh, who were confident enough, created several chances continuously. The team finally made a comeback a few minutes before the half time while defender Rajon smartly scored the equalizer with a right-footer utilizing a deflected ball (1-1).

Bangladesh took the 2-1 lead when defender Shahin scored with a left-footer, off a low header from forward Mohammed Piash Ahmed Nova at the beginning of the second half.

But India returned on the track when Gurkirat leveled the margin 2-2 with a right-footer from nearer the box within 12-minute. 

Gurkirat was adjudged best scorer (9 goals) and most valuable player of this competition while his teammate goalkeeper Som Kumar became the best goalkeeper. 

Meanwhile, the boys in red and green began the tournament by beating Sri Lanka 1-0 before they defeated India and Maldives by 2-1 and 4-1 goals respectively in their next two matches.

Bangladesh played a 1-1 draw against Nepal during their last league match to confirm their place in the final.