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Bangladesh eye maiden SAFF U-20 Championship

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 5 August, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Bangladesh eye maiden SAFF U-20 Championship
Bangladesh U-20 skipper Tanvir Hossain (left) and Indian defender Halen Nongdtu shake hands in front of the trophy at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Bangladesh will face the hosts in the final of SAFF U-20 Championship today. —BFF PHOTO

Bangladesh will be looking to earn their maiden SAFF U-20 Championship title when they take on hosts India in the final at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today.

Bangladesh have a dream run in the tournament so far as they won three and drew another to progress to the final as league champions.

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.

Bangladesh previously finished runners-up twice in 2017 and 2019 respectively (tournaments were held in U-18 format) but this time they will be eyeing to win the tournament for the first time at such level.

Again, Bangladesh will be looking to take revenge over India as they lost the last edition final to the same opponents in Nepal three years back.

“Representing a country in the international arena is always a little bit of pressure but the players did very well. We reached the final from the group stage without being defeated. Now, our objective is to win the final and we are looking forward to it,” Bangladesh head coach Paul Smalley said on Thursday.

Although Bangladesh will be without midfielder Shahidul Islam in the final after he conceded a red card in their last match against Nepal, Smalley believed that it would make no impact on their game plan against India.

“These things happen in football. You can lose players due to suspension or injuries. We have to deal with it. We don’t have any problem,” he added.

Bangladesh captain Tanvir Hossain claimed that his teammates are fully confident to give their best in the final.

“We did everything as per the plan. Earlier, we beat India in the group stage. Everyone is confident. We are ready to give a good show in the final,” he said.

Meanwhile, India, which finished second after Bangladesh with nine points in the league stage, will miss the service of forward Parthib Sundar Gogoi (scored four goals in the tournament) due to conceding a red card against Maldives.

India head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh said that his team sorted out all mistakes which they made against Bangladesh in the group stage and was hopeful of retaining the title.

“In our first game against Bangladesh, there were a few mistakes. But the boys have stayed focused and have worked on them,” he said.