Bangladesh crowned SAFF U-16 Champions after shootout win over India
Bangladesh U-16 beat their Indian counterparts to be crowned as the Champions of the SAFF U-16 Cup in Bangladesh. When the teams could not be separated after regulation time with a score of 1-1, the game moved into a penalty shootout where the Indians missed two penalties to hand the title to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh had beaten India in the group stage and were considered as the overwhelming favorites for the title, but the absence of Bangladeshi striker Nipu gave the Indians encouragement. But if the first game had shown us anything, it was that the Indian team needed to be at their very best to keep the host team in check.
The first half passed without too many chances being created with the Indian team being happy to play on the counter. They defended brilliantly restricting the hosts to shots for distance. The condition of the ground did not help as well with a huge area being covered with mud and the ball not moving as swiftly as it could have.
Bangladesh break the deadlock
Bangladesh come out for the second half flying with Fahim Murshed scoring in just 56 seconds. Bangladesh went gung ho on the Indian defense with Saad coming close after going past three defenders. India had to respond and the young colts made themselves heard in the capacity crowd in Sylhet District Stadium.
With India piling the pressure, the Bangladesh goalkeeper made an avoidable error when he picked the ball dropped it and picked it up again without any pressure leaving the referee with no option but to award an indirect free-kick. India scored from the resulting free-kick, but the goal was correctly disallowed. In the very next move, India did get the equalizer they were desperate for with Avinash Morajkar coming up as the man of the moment.
The game got pretty physical after the second goal as the referee was trying his best to allow the game to flow. In the 78th minute, Bangladesh had the best chance to win the game but the striker fluffed his lines at the moment of truth.
Both teams looked tired in the last 10 minutes of the match and looked like they seemed happy to take the game into a shootout. In the 93rd minute, when the lights went out, the referee gave the teams what they were looking for.
In the penalty shootout, Bangladesh scored all four of their penalties and as Sarkar and Saqlain Khan missing the 2nd and fourth penalty the stadium erupted with joy. This is the first time Bangladesh have won the U-16 SAFF Cup. The highlights for the shootout can be viewed below.