Athletic

SAFF U-20 Champs: Bangladesh face holders India in final Friday

With a sweet memory of beating defending champions India 2-1 in the league match, Bangladesh will play their giant neighbour again in the final of the five-nation SAFF U-20 Championship'2022 on Friday.

The title deciding match will kick-off at 7:30 pm Bangladesh time at the Kalinga Stadium in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar.

Last year’s runners-up Bangladesh smartly reached the final of the regional youth soccer meet as the lone unbeaten team in the meet securing 10 points from four league matches. They beat Sri Lanka by 1-0 goal, hosts India 2-1, the Maldives 4-1 and drew 1-1 with two times champions Nepal.

India booked a seat for the final securing nine points from four matches after beating Sri Lanka by 4-0 goals, Nepal 8-0 and the Maldives 1-0 after. They conceded 1-2 defeat against Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is well prepared to clinch their first-ever title beating India twice in the competition, while hosts India looking for their 2nd consecutive title on their home soil. They also seek to avenge their 1-2 defeat against Bangladesh in the league match.

In a pre-match press conference on Thursday, Bangladesh's coach Paul Smalley said "India played a very different game against Maldives than they did against us. We have reviewed all of their matches and how they change their game, and we've prepared accordingly":

"We very much understand how to expose their weaknesses, as much as they would be working on exposing our team." he added

Bangladesh's Mirajul Islam is the leading goal-scorer in the competition with four goals, same as India's Parthib Gogoi and Gurkirat Singh.

However, India will play without Gogoi in the final as he received a last-minute red card in their last match against the Maldives while Bangladesh team has no injury problems.

Ahead of the Friday's match, Bangladesh team made Yoga, ice bath and pool session at the team hotel on Thursday morning and made their practices at the Capital Practice ground in the afternoon.

Five South Asian nations – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka-- are taking part in this year's fourth edition of the regional youth soccer meet.

Nepal are the most successful nation in the meet winning the title twice while India lifted its first title in 2019 after beating two times runners-up Bangladesh.

Source: United News of Bangladesh