Thimpu, September 27: Team Bangladesh clinched the runner-up title in the ‘SAFF U-18 Championship 2017’, beating hosts Bhutan 2-0 in the final match of the campaign in the Chalimithang Stadium, Thimpu on Wednesday following the India vs Nepal match, which saw Nepal get a 2-0 win over India.
If India had managed a win or draw against Nepal, Bangladesh would have been crowned the champions as per the regulations of the tournament, that state that head to head results will be prioritized for deciders if two teams have equal points.
The loss pushed India into third-place in the standings, allowing Nepal to clinch the SAFF U-18 title courtesy of a head to head advantage over second-placed Bangladesh.
Winger Jafar Iqbal, consistent in the whole tournament, helped carry on the commendable performance of the red and greens, scoring two late goals in the last minutes of the match.
Team Bangladesh were a bit slow in the first half of the match, as coach Roxy had decided to bench Jafar Iqbal while team Bhutan took a defensive stance. The second half however, was different, as the youngsters led the invasion on the Bhutanese side with Jafar Iqbal leading the pack. Jafar dribbled past the opposition’s defence in the 81st minute with surprising momentum, baffling the hosts. He then placed the ball in the far post of the net, taking Bangladesh to 1-0 lead.
Without letting the Bhutanese team rest, Jafar led the attack again 3 minutes later. In the 84th minute, the striker made another successful solo effort, beating the opponent’s goalie in the near post and sealing the fate of the match at 2-0 on the boards.
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives participated in the tournament.
Bangladesh ended the tournament with nine points from the four matches and Nepal had 9 points in the end.
Coach Roxy thanked the team for such a performance and reminded everyone about their hard efforts behind the success in the post-match press conference after beating Bhutan. “I thank the BFF President Kazi Salahuddin for giving me the chance to coach the team.
Technical Director Paul Smalley and BFF Head Coach Andrew Ord deserves the recognition for their support.” He mentioned in the press meet that the boys had put up a brilliant performance, starting from the first match against India to the last one against Bhutan.
“We couldn’t win against Nepal, but that happens. All the other matches were amazing and we have all worked hard as we followed every step of constructive football.”
When asked why Jafar Iqbal was not in the starting 11 against Bhutan, coach Roxy said it was their team strategy. “We knew Bhutan plays very defensive. Jafar would have been cornered from the beginning, but we put him on the pitch in full strength in the middle of the match. That made the difference.”
Roxy thanked the numerous supporters both home and abroad for their blessings.
Copyright @ 2017 Bangladesh Football Federation | All rights reserved. Developed by OMNISPACE