By Navaneeth K
DHAKA, BANGLADESH: India tasted their first defeat in the SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship against Bangladesh at the BSSS Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka, as they lost 0-1 on Friday, March 24, 2023.
India had an early chance through Pooja, who got on to a scuffed clearance and attempted to dink the keeper, but her effort went wide. Chances were few and far between, but India’s Shilji Shaji looked lively, making runs at the opposition defence. She made a dangerous foray into the Bangladesh box from the left at the half-hour mark, but was stopped in her tracks.
A little ahead of the half time whistle, Shibani got on to a dangerous position in the flanks as she was fed in by Lalita, but the former’s cross lacked direction.
India replaced Meneka Devi with Babita Kumari at the restart as the first half ended in a stalemate. Shilji again looked to get into a dangerous position around the hour mark, but the cross by Shibani was cut out by the Bangladesh goalkeeper Songgita.
Lalita had a decent chance just 10 minutes later, when a miscued clearance by the Bangladesh defence fell kindly for her, but her first-time effort went over the bar. Disaster struck for the Young Tigresses in the 73rd minute, when a wrongly timed header by Akhila ended in the Indian net.
As the clock wore down, Pooja missed a header from close range with just 10 minutes of regulation time left. Shibani had the perfect chance to equalise in the 90th minute when she was played through by Shilji, and had only the keeper to beat, but Bangladesh custodian Songgita pulled off a brilliant save.
Shilji herself had the last chance to draw level in the fifth minute of injury time, when India were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the Bangladesh area. However, her effort sailed over the crossbar.
India will next face Bhutan on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 14:45 IST.
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