India pumped seven goals past a hapless Bhutan side on a rain-drenched day at the Kalyani Stadium, in Kalyani, on Sunday August 25, as the Blue Colts propelled themselves to the top of the 2019 SAFF U-15 Championship table.
Bibiano Fernandes’ side, that had posted a 5-0 victory against Nepal in their first game, were as dominant as ever, as Taison Singh and Sridarth netted a brace each. Singson, Isac, and Renedy also scored a goal each.
Taison gave India the fastest start that Bibiano Fernandes could have hoped for, finishing off a swift move in the very first minute. This was the fastest goal of the 2019 edition of the tournament.
It took Sridarth just eight minutes to double the lead, as he skipped past two defenders and plonked it past the keeper into the bottom corner.
India’s third goal came from an unlokely source – defender Singson, who lost his marker during a corner, and side-footed a cut-back into the roof of the net. The Indians kept up the pressure, and Sidarth got his second goal of the match on the 25th minute, to make the scoreline an astounding 4-0.
Taison joined in on the party after the change of ends, as he latched on to a stray ball inside the penalty box and drove it into the net. Second half substitute Isac soon made it six goals for his side, as he hit the target from long range, while Renedy Meetei added a seventh goal, with just a minute of regulation time left on the clock.
After the match, Atushi Nakamura praised the Indian side, and even went on to compare the young charges to AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar. “I told my boys before the game that we should treat this match as if we were playing Qatar. They are a very good side, and they showed that, especially in the first 20 minutes,” he said.
India gaffer Bibiano Fernandes, on the other hand, pointed out the fact that his charges have been scoring a lot of goals in recent times, and they have no plan to stop. “A lot of these boys have been scoring frequently, even in the exposure tours. It’s always a good sign when your team scores a lot of goals. Let’s hope we can continue this form later in the tournament as well.”
India are scheduled to play their next game against Sri Lanka, which kicks off at 12 noon on Tuesday, August 27, at the Kalyani Stadium.
Bangladesh rout Sri Lanka
Earlier in the day, it was seventh heaven for Bangladesh as well. The defending champions won their match against Sri Lanka by a whopping 7-1 margin, as forward Md Al Amin Rahman scored five goals for Bangladesh, whilecaptain Rakibul Islam and Al Mirad scored one each.
Meanwhile, Inshan Muhammed Mihran was the only one to score for Sri Lanka on the day.
These scores mean that India and Bangladesh occupy the top two spots on the table with six points each. However, the hosts are currently in the by virtue of a higher goal difference, since India and Bangladesh have not played each other yet.