India's Sumit Rathi (18) in action during the SAFF U-18 Championship football match against Bangladesh at the Halchowk Stadium in Kathmandu on Monday. Photo Courtesy: ANFA
KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Bangladesh has advanced into the semifinals of the SAFF U-18 Championship after holding strong Indian side to a goalless draw on Monday. Bangladesh held the 2015 finalist to secure the semifinal spot.
India maintained more possession against the competitive Bangladesh, but failed to convert any chances at goal due to poor performance.
Bangladesh looked threatening at times but its strikers could not convert any chances as the game finished with both teams without putting the ball into the net. With four points, Bangladesh leads the Group B after thrashing Sri Lanka 3-0 earlier.
The wet condition of the ground due to the rainfall on Sunday did not make the game easier for India, and goalkeeper and skipper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill’s injury added to India’s bad luck.
India has 1 point and is already two points behind Bangladesh. It will now take its chances to book another spot in the semis on Thursday when it takes on Sri Lanka, who is making its first appearance in U-18 SAFF.
India will only need a draw to secure a spot in the semis while Sri Lanka, who is at the bottom of the group with no points, must defeat India to reach the next round.
On Tuesday, Bhutan will face the Maldives in the final match of Group A. Bhutan, who has already qualified for the semifinals after thrashing Nepal 3-0 on Sunday, leads the group with three points and will hope to end the group round unbeaten.
On the other hand, the Maldives, who played a 1-1 stalemate with Nepal in the opening match, will reach the next round needing only a draw. If the Maldives beats Bhutan, it will advance as the group runner-up.
Meanwhile, defending champion Nepal will be hoping that Bhutan beats the Maldives with a scoreline of four or more goals to advance at the cost of the Maldives.
Nepal is square with the Maldives on points after playing a draw but is inferior on goal difference.