Bangladesh taste their first victory against India in SAFF Women’s Championship
Bangladesh women played a fearless brand of attacking football to consign defending champions India to a 3-0 defeat, their first-ever loss to the neighbours and in the SAFF Women’s Championship.
Forward Sirat Jahan Shopna was on target in each half to help Bangladesh to the top of Group A of the competition at Kathmandu’s Dasharath Stadium in Nepal on Tuesday.
Maria Manda, Monika Chakma and Sanjida Akhter marshalled the midfield while Shopna and Krishna Rani Sarker, aided by captain Sabina Khatun, spearheaded the attack.
The first half was mostly played in India’s half and Shopna broke the deadlock in the 12th minute.
Sabina intercepted India’s foray in the middle of the pitch and sent the ball through to an unmarked Krishna, who darted forward on the left and laid it into the box for a left-footed strike by Shopna.
Krishna doubled the lead 10 minutes later by rushing into the box to be on the receiving end of a clever one-two with Shopna before pulling the trigger at the near post.
Five-time champions India struggled to find their footing after the break as well, as Bangladesh poured forward for a 53rd-minute strike.
Sabina once again split the defence in front of the box to feed 21-year-old Shopna who turned around and slammed a low shot past the goalkeeper.
Bangladesh then settled down and threatened India’s defence on the break while goalkeeper Rupna Chakma held her ground to end with a clean sheet.
Both teams had earlier confirmed their place in the semifinals. Golam Robbani Choton’s team have bagged all nine points available from the group.
Bangladesh embarked on the winning streak in the sixth edition of the most elite South Asian women’s football competition with a 3-0 win over the Maldives before brushing Pakistan aside with a 6-0 drubbing.
Before this, India had won 21 of the 22 games they played in the last five editions of the tournament and were held by Bangladesh in the group stages of the 2016 championship.
Overall, the women in red and green won their first match against their subcontinent rivals in 11 attempts.