Biratnagar, March 14
Bangladesh defeated Bhutan 2-0 in the Group A match of the SAFF Women’s Championship here at the Sahid Rangashala today.
The win meant Bangladesh and Nepal made it to the semi-finals from the group after both the sides beat Bhutan in the league round match. Nepal had beaten Bhutan 3-0 in the opening match of the tournament on Tuesday.
Nepal are at the top of the table on superior goal, ahead of Bangladesh, whereas Bhutan crashed out of the tournament. The third and final group stage match slated for Saturday will decide the winners and runners-up. In Group B, India lead the table with three points, while the Maldives and Sri Lanka are yet to open their accounts.
On Thursday, Most Mishrat Jahan Moushumi and skipper Sabina Khatun scored one each in the second half after Bangladesh struggled to penetrate Bhutanese defense in the first half. The Bhutanese players gave a hard time to Bangladeshi opponents in the first half but they could not resist the attack after the break and scored twice to seal the victory.
Moushumi opened the scoring in the 46th minute when she headed home from the crowded d-box following a corner from Monika Chakma. Khatun then put the issue beyond doubt with a brilliant goal. She dodged as many as two defenders and beat past goalkeeper Sonam Dema before scoring in an open net.
Earlier, Bangladesh came close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute but Most Sirat Jahan Shopna failed to beat Bhutan goalkeeper Sonam Dema in one-on-one situation and ended up
with a wayward shot. Shopna wasted another chance in the 29th minute but she failed to connect the ball on a corner kick from Maria Manda.
Sabina Khatun had a shot on target twice in two minutes but she was not able to find the back of the nets. Her shot from 30 yards sailed over the bar in the 35th minutes and Bhutan goalkeeper Dema made a brilliant save to deny the same player a minute later.
Bhutan created the only move of the match in the 73rd minute when they earned a corner kick but Dorji Edon’s overhead kick went inches over the bar after being fed by Sonam Choden. Tohura Khatun of Bangladesh had a fine shot on target in the 81st minute but she was denied by Bhutan custodian Dema.
Bhutan, who crashed out of the tournament without scoring a goal, remained winless in 14 matches in the SAFF Women’s Championship. Their best result in the championship so far is the 1-1 draw against Sri Lanka in 2010.
Bangladesh coach Golam Robbani Choten said the team met the target of reaching the semi-finals with a win over Bhutan. “Our aim was to defeat Bhutan and seal a place in the last four,” said Choten. “Our next match is against Nepal and that will not be an easy one. As Nepal are technically strong, we are looking forward to a competitive match,” the coach added.
Bhutan coach Sung Jea Lee was satisfied with his girls’ performance in the match. “The players put up a strong show against Bangladesh despite being depleted by the absence of injured players. I am happy that the girls gave a tough fight in the match and we also created a couple of chances but could not capitalise on loose balls,” he added.
On Friday, Sri Lanka will play against the Maldives in Group B match.
A version of this article appears in print on March 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.