SAFF Championship: India Squander Lead Against Bangladesh; Held to 1-1 Draw
Sunil Chhetri was the scorer for India.
The Indian men’s football team put in an underwhelming performance in their SAFF Championship opener as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bangladesh, who were a man down for a major chunk of the second half.
India, who have won the SAFF title 7 times previously, came into the game as the favourites but were far from convincing during the game.
While India found it hard to get any constructive moves going in the first half hour, they however managed to take the lead when Sunil Chhetri stepped up yet again.
The captain finished from close range with aplomb after Udanta Singh’s cut back found him unmarked near the six-yard box.
Bangladesh went hunting for the equaliser and gave Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and the Indian defence a few scary moments before the half ended. Liston Colaco and Rahul Bheke had chances to add to the lead before the break but failed to convert.
After the break, Bangladesh continued to their hunt for the goal but were dealt a body blow, or so it seemed when Biswanath Ghosh was sent off for tackling Colaco, who was running through on goal.
India had the numerical advantage for more than half an hour in the second half but failed to stitch together any moves that would cause their opposition any concerns.
And while India struggled to hold on to their slender lead, Bangladesh attacked and off a corner in the 74th minute equalised. Yeasin Arafat found some space at the back post and placed his low diving header well out of Gurpreet’s reach to bring both teams to level pegging.
India had another couple of chances to seal the deal in the final 15 minutes but the 10-men of Bangladesh, who are well drilled unit, held on and came away with a very big point.
For India and Igor Stimac, who had promised a style of play that produces results, it will be back to the drawing board before they play Sri Lanka on 7 October.
Under Stimac's leadership, this is the second time India have drawn against Bangladesh while having won once.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.