• Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

U18s want to make it second time lucky

  • Published at 11:07 pm September 28th, 2019
Bangladesh U-18 football team captain Yeasin Arafat (L) and his Indian counterpart pose for photographs with the Saff U-18 Championship trophy in Kathmandu Saturday BFF

Both the teams have scored seven goals each and are yet to concede in the third edition of the age-level regional competition

Something’s got to give when high-flying Bangladesh face India Sunday in the grand finale of the Saff U-18 Championship at Air Police Force Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The match kicks off at 3:15pm, Bangladesh standard time.

Both the teams have scored seven goals each and are yet to concede in the third edition of the age-level regional competition.

The neighboring countries are both unbeaten in this tournament and have won the same number of matches – two.

To add to that, both Bangladesh and India have been runners-up once each in the previous two editions, with Nepal winning on both occasions.

The similarities don’t end there as the head-to-head record between the two teams in the competition is also identical – one win each.

In the 2015 edition, the two sides locked horns with each other in the semi-final, with India turning out victorious 4-3 after it ended goalless following regulation time.

In the last installment of the tournament two years ago, Bangladesh scripted a remarkable comeback from three-goals down to win 4-3.

Ahead of the all-important clash, Bangladesh head coach Andrew Peter Turner said, “It’s a game we are looking forward to. It’s a game I think we deserve to be in. We are playing an India side who are the title favorite. It will be a good football match. It’s an occasion where I want our players to enjoy. And it’s a final where I want to come out winner.”

The two teams played out a goalless draw in their group phase encounter.

Turner though did not read too much into that match and said Sunday's clash will be a different ball-game altogether.

“The first match against India (in the group stage) was always going to be a tough game. It was their first game and our second. It was one of those games, we were just getting used to each other and cancelling each other out. It was a fairly even match, they were trying to play the ball around and we stopped them. Hopefully it will be a different proposition [Sunday] where we change a few things,” said Turner.

Bangladesh have no suspensions or injury corners to contend with, said Turner.

“All of our 23 players are fit. We have recovered well, we are prepared for the final battle,” said Turner before adding, “(Wet conditions) It is something you have to get used to, prepare for. It was exactly the same in the Bhutan game. And I think we played particularly well in those conditions.”

Bangladesh captain Yeasin Arafat, whose buyout clause at Saif Sporting Club has been set at Tk1 crore, informed that his team will be looking to play attacking football, adding, “Everyone has fighting mentality. Everyone is hungry for a win. Inshallah, we will play good football against India.”

The third place playoff between Bhutan and Maldives will be held at the same venue Sunday at 11:15am, BST.

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