Stopping frequent attacks and playing critical interceptions against Bangladesh, it was a busy evening for Dorji Eden and her defenders at Changlingmithang yesterday.
Bhutan’s controlled defense effort gave Bangladesh a tough challenge.
Despite sharing equal chances to score, host Bhutan went two goals down, conceding an opener in the first minute and the second in the last one minute of the first half.
The Bhutanese girls worked hard and won some critical chances from through balls and corner kicks. However, chances finished high and off the targets.
Recording one win and one loss in the ongoing Under-18 SAFF women’s championship, Bhutan played an experienced and one of the strongest teams in the second semi-final match.
Bhutan’s coach, Sung Jea Lee, said it was unfortunate to concede early goals. “The player did play well despite playing a tough game. We did prepare well checking out their past matches. However, I am disappointed with the result.”
Although the team had only two players who had the experience of playing such championships before, the squad lost two starting players to injury before the match against Bangladesh.
The coach said the players lacked experience and stamina against the much stronger team.
Bangladesh scored two goals in the second half to enter the final undefeated and conceded least goals in the championship.
Bangladesh coach, Golam Robbani Choton, said the Bhutanese were a good team and had home crowd advantage. “These made situation tough for the team and made some mistakes in the game. However, we expect different situation in the final against Nepal.”
Bangladesh faced Bhutan as one of the undefeated team in the championship and recorded the highest number of goals in one game – 17 against Pakistan in the league round.
Bangladesh has 13 players who played SAFF U-15 championship in the same pitch. Nine of them played AFC Cup final round last year and also finished first in the AFC Cup qualifier group stage playoff last month.
Meanwhile, in the first semi final clash between India and Nepal, the two fought hard to win a spot in the final. Only the penalty shootout could decide the equally contested game between Nepal and India.
The referee declared the result in favour of Nepal before the last penalty shooter was given her chance to take the shoot. The player made no mistake to confirm the spot in the final and the team celebrated their win again.
India came from one goal behind to take the game into the extra time and penalty shoot. Nepal scored in 15th minute and India won an equalizer in the 62nd minute.
Nepal and Bangladesh will face again in the final tomorrow. The two played in the league round, which saw Nepal, concede 1-2 loss to Bangladesh in their first meeting.
India and Bhutan will play for the second time tomorrow for the third place.