SAFF U-16 Championship: Holders India overcome Bangladesh 2-0 to lift fifth title
Thimphu (Bhutan), Sep 10 (IANS) Defending champions India retained their title in the SAFF U-16 Championship, beating Bangladesh 2-0 in the final here on Sunday to lift the cup for the fifth time in the tournament’s history.
In the final, Bharat Lairenjam gave the Indian boys an early lead in the 8th minute and then Levis Zangminlun sealed victory in the 74th minute at the Changlimithang Stadium in the Bhutan capital.
India, who defeated Maldives 8-0 in the first semifinal, dominated the proceedings in the gripping contest while Bangladesh too made some good attacks as the game ebbed and flowed between the two ends of the pitch.
After a good start, Bharat Lairenjam went through into the Bangladesh box in the 8th minute and poked it home to give the eventual champions the lead.
India had their best chance of the first half in the 36th minute when Yaipharemba Chingkham sent in a low cross from the left and Bharat shot at the bottom corner, but his attempt was blocked in a melee of Bangladesh legs.
Things remained in favour of India at the halfway stage and things continued in the same vein in the second session.
In the 52nd minute, a foul against Mohammad Arbash got India a free kick outside the box. Mate Ngamgouhou took it but Bangladesh’s defence managed to clear the danger.
In the 56th minute, Bharat Lairenjam seized the moment with a follow-up shot from the rebound, but it narrowly missed the target.
Six minutes later, Vishal Yadav unleashed a powerful shot from just outside the box but it sailed over the bar.
The Indians finally doubled the lead in the 73rd minute when an outstanding finish from Levis Zangminlun gave the Blue Colts the second goal and a vice-like grip over the encounter.
In the 85th minute, Bangladesh came close with multiple attempts but India’s defence stayed strong and thwarted them and eventually won the match 2-0.