After the Indian U-18 National Team was held to a goalless draw by Bangladesh in their opening match of the SAFF U-18 Championship at the APF Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal on Monday (September 23), Head Coach Floyd Pinto stated “it was a difficult game.”
“Bangladesh defended with 10 men, and I have to give credit to the boys for not stopping to put in the effort,” he added. “We have got a point from this match is a minor positive. But these boys will improve as the tournament progresses, and their quality of football will also improve.”
The Indian U-18s clash next against Sri Lanka in their last Group Stage match of the Championship on September 25, 2019. Sri Lanka had earlier lost 0-3 to Bangladesh, and the top two teams from the Group will qualify for the semi-finals slated for September 27.
The Indian U-18s had started the match on an attacking note but an injury to goalkeeper Prabhsukan Singh Gill in the 9th minute meant that Pinto had to make an early change. With Bangladesh committing bodies in defence, India colts were not able to break through.
Chances for Floyd’s boys came through set pieces. In the 36th minute, Sumit Rathi’s header came close to giving India the lead, but it flew inches over the bar.
Changing over, the second half was much like the first, with India dominating possession but failing to create clear goal chances. Despite ringing in two changes to up the attacking front, India failed to create goal scoring opportunities, and could not convert half chances.