Bangladesh inflict first SAFF defeat on IndiaChoton’s side outplay the champions of all previous five editions to pull off a 3-0 victory and finish on top of Group ‘A’.
Bangladesh edged India 3-0 to inflict on the champions their first ever defeat at the SAFF Women’s Championship and wrap up the group stage on top at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar on Tuesday.
MS Jahan Shopna struck in either halves before Srimoti Sarkar added second goal for Bangladesh who also registered their first win over India in six matches of SAFF and overall 10 encounters. Their best outcome against India was a 0-0 draw during the group stage of the 2016 Championship.
The outcome also snapped India’s unbeaten run after 29 matches at women’s SAFF. India are also the winners of all five previous editions of the tournaments.
Following the victory, Bangladesh finished with maximum nine points in Group ‘B’ winning all three matches while India wrapped up the group stage as runners up with six points. Already assured of semi-final spots before coming into the game, the group topper Bangladesh will meet Bhutan and India will vie against hosts Nepal for place in the final on Friday.
Bangladesh looked like a deserving winner from the onset and piled pressure on the South Asian giants until the final whistle. They came up with well-coordinated passes and outplayed India in all departments.
“I want to congratulate Bangladesh. They played a very good game and were full of energy. They had the hunger to win,” India coach Suren Kumar Chhetri said after the match. He also ruled out it was a bad day for India. “We played very badly but we are still in the race. There are lots of areas we need to improve.”
Bangladesh, who have been playing with almost the same team for almost half-decade, opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Shopna after she found a through pass from Sarkar in the area and beat goalie Aditi Chauhan with a low strike.
India tried to reply in the 17th through Priyangka Devi Naorem but the midfielder’s strike from the left side of the area was grabbed by goalie Rupna Chakma without any difficulty. Bangladesh doubled the tally in the 22nd through Sarkar who applied a quick low ball strike from close range after being fed by Shopna.
Shopna then made it 3-0 eight minutes into the second half after the forward collected a through pass from captain Sabina Khatun and guided the ball at the back of the net with a sliding strike.
Bangladesh coach Golam Robbani Choton was full of praise for his players following the win. “Salute to our girls. They really worked hard for this day for the past four-five years and they created a history,” said Choton, who has been in charge of the women's team for more than a decade. “Bangladesh football is gradually improving and every individual of the team has worked together for a long time.”
He also said that he was confident of the team’s performance. “They played very well in the last two matches against Pakistan and Maldives,” Choton said. “I wanted them to maintain the same level of performance and avoid a strong opponent in the semi-final.”
Pakistan sign off with thumping win
Pakistan women's team, who are making comeback to international football after eight years, signed off with victory, registering a thumping 7-0 win over Maldives in the early kickoff at Dasharath Stadium.
Nadia Khan struck four goals for Pakistan in the dead rubber match as both the sides were already out of the race following defeats against India and Bangladesh in the four team team group.
Pakistan went into the break with a 1-0 lead after Rameen Fareed’s opener. Khadija Kazmi and Anmool Hira were also on the scoresheet for Pakistan.
Not only was it the first victory for Pakistan at the dead rubber affair, but they also registered their biggest ever win at international football. Their previous highest score win came against Bhutan during group stage of 2014 SAFF when they pulled off a 4-1 win in the group stage.
Prior to that, Pakistan had defeated Maldives and Afghanistan with identical 3-0 scores in the 2010 and 2012 editions, respectively.
Pakistan coach Adeell Mirza Rizki said that it was not an easy task to beat Maldives despite a big margin outcome. “It was not easy to do what we did today. We wanted to play a good brand of football and attacking game,” said Rizki. “We have our plans for the future and the team will continue to play and we want to play more opposition.”
Pakistan had lost 3-0 to India and 6-0 to Bangladesh in their last two matches.
“Every opponent is different and we faced strong opponents in the last two matches,” Rizki said. “But we want to make a new start from this point.”
Khan, who struck four goals, said that she was proud of the win. “I feel very much proud and excited,” she said. “We played united as a team and I hope we can do better in the future.”