India pip Bangladesh, book spot in SAFF U-17 Championship final!

India defeated Bangladesh 2-1 in the SAFF U-17 Championship semifinal on Monday, September 12 at the Racecourse International Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to book their spot in the summit clash.

Striker Thanglalsoun Gangte netted a second-half brace, to win the match for India, as Bangladesh later pulled one back via a Mirajul Islam penalty.

Both teams looked to size each other up throughout the first half while creating several chances, which went to waste in the end. The only real chance of the half fell India’s way, but the Blue Colts failed to make it count. In the 16th minute, Korou Singh sent in a cross from the right for Gangte who managed to shoulder his marker in the box. But even with rival goalkeeper Sohanur Rahaman caught in between, failed to direct his header into the net.

As the clock wound down, both the sides headed to the dressing with the scorers yet to be troubled. However, India came out after the change of ends with all the impetus, and soon took the lead.

The Blue Colts surged into the lead five minutes after the resumption, as striker Thanglalsoun Gangte, who was lurking around the opposition box, received it just outside the area, and even as the jungle of legs tried to close him down, the striker delectably finished it to the right of the goalkeeper in a flash – a dream finish for any striker.

The lead was doubled some seven minutes later off a brilliant counter-attack. The Indian defenders thwarted a rival attack inside the box, and the counter-attack down the right caught Bangladesh unaware. Eventually, Vanlalpeka Guite sent it into the box and Gangte made no mistake to tap it in.

However, Bangladesh pulled one back in just a few minutes, after they were awarded a penalty for a soft foul. Striker Mirajul Islam stepped up to the spot and sent Indian keeper Sahil the wrong way, to score his side’s first goal of the match.

That goal provided a lot of impetus to the Bangladesh attack, as they kept searching for the equaliser. Meanwhile, India played it smart, exploiting the gaps left behind in the Bangladesh back line, to formulate their counter-attacks.

Substitute Lalpekhlua had a couple of chances with around 15 minutes of regulation time left on the clock, but could not extend the lead. At the other end, India defender Mukul Panwar made many crucial blocks, to keep the opposition at bay.

Both Lalpekhlua and Mirajul Islam and one close chance each in injury time, but as neither could convert, the match came to an end with India winning 2-1. The Blue Colts will now proceed to the final, where they will face the winners of the second semi-final between Nepal and hosts Sri Lanka, which kicks off later on Monday. The final will be played on Wednesday, September 14, with the match kicking off at the same venue at 8 PM IST.

INDIA U-17: Sahil – Vanlalpeka Guite, Ricky Meetei, Mukul Panwar, Manjot Singh Dhami, Gurnaj Singh Grewal, Korou Singh, Thanglalsoun Gangte (76′ Aman), Boby Singh (66′ Lalpekhlua), Malemngamba Singh Thokchom, Danny Meetei

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