Kathmandu [Nepal], September 21 (ANI): The India U-19 boys started their SAFF U-19 Championship with a win after registering a victory of 3-0 against the Bangladesh U-19 team at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu here on Thursday.
Gwgwmsar Goyary, Naoba Meitei Pangambam and Arjun Singh Oinam were the scorers as India looked to qualify for the knockout stages from Group B. Bhutan are the third and final side in the group.
According to AIFF's release, Group A consists of hosts Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan. The top two sides from each group will progress to the semi-finals.
The Blue Colts roared into action from the very beginning and dictated the tempo of the game. Attackers like Ishaan Shishodia, Naoba Meitei Pangambam, and Sahil Khurshid relentlessly probed Bangladesh's defence, making their intentions abundantly clear.
But it was the solid wall of defence, featuring the likes of Jahangir Ahmad Shagoo, Thomas Kanamoottil Cherian, Vijay Marandi, and Ricky Meetei Haobam, that truly held the fort. India's goalkeeper Lionel Daryl Rymmei showcased his mettle with good saves, defying Bangladesh's attempts to breach their citadel.
Remarkably, the opening salvo came in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it 34 seconds. Ishaan Shishodia received a long ball on the right before sending a cross floating into the box. Bangladesh defender Mohammad Yousuf Ali failed to clear the ball which landed sweetly at the feet of Gwgwmsar Goyary. The India forward didn't make a mistake as he slotted home India's first goal.
Bangladesh, though, refused to bow down, launching a thunderous riposte just minutes later. Captain Md Moinul Islam Moin unleashed a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box, only to be thwarted by Rymmei, who tipped it onto the woodwork.
The woodwork stood in the way of Bangladesh yet again in the 40th minute when Razu Ahmed Zisan's right-footed long-ranger hit the crosspiece.
India, however, struck another goal in the additional time of the first half to extend their lead. A lapse in Bangladesh's defence opened the door, and Naoba Meitei Pangambam barged through with vengeance in his eyes. The left-footer found its mark, leaving Bangladesh's goalkeeper, Asif, helpless, and the scoreline reading 2-0 in India's favour at halftime.
The second half witnessed Bangladesh trying to stage a miraculous comeback, but they were greeted with a relentless Indian defence that refused to yield. (ANI)