Defending champions Bangladesh began their SAFF U-15 Women's Championship campaign with a bang as they inflicted a massive 14-0 defeat on Pakistan in their opening match at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu yesterday.
Shamsunnahar Jr struck four goals and Tahura Khatun, Sajeda Khatun and Anai Mogini scored a brace each while Monika Chakma, Shamsunnahar Sr, Maria Manda and Akhi Khatun netted one each.
Incredibly, it was not even the biggest win for Bangladesh; the 15-0 result against Bhutan on way to winning to AFC U-14 Girls Regional Championship in 2015 still bears that mark of honour.
The girls in red and green simply toyed with their Pakistani counterparts, who were playing at this stage for the first time. Almost the entire 90 minutes were confined to Pakistan's half of the field, who were helpless and conceded six goals in the first half before watching eight more hammered past them in the second half.
The Bangladeshi girls dominated their weaker opponents as expected. They exhibited good ball distribution but were not as fast as they are at home. They were also unable to use either flank and hardly whipped the ball in but when they did deliver those rare crosses, the forwards were caught out of position.
And although Tahura and Anai both got their names on the scoresheet, the striking duo were not up to the mark. Instead it was the newcomers Shamsunnahar Jr and Sajeda Khatun who drew attention with their incisive movement and the scoring ability to back it up.
Midfielder-cum-captain Maria and Monika were as brilliant ever and, aside from scoring, split the defence open time again with their passes.
Of over the dozen goals that Bangladesh scored, the strike from tall defender Akhi was perhaps the most eye-catching. She stepped up and let loose a powerful shot from approximately 35 yards which found the back of the net.
The girls in red and green may have posted an easy win over Pakistan, but they must improve their running in next match against Nepal, who once beat Bangladesh regularly at every level. The scenario has changed a lot since the Bangladesh beat Nepal to win the AFC U-14 Girls Regional Championship in 2015. They also beat Nepal 6-0 in this tournament's previous edition in Dhaka last December.
Bangladesh's main title contenders India made a flying to the tournament with an imposing 12-0 win over Sri Lanka in the tournament opener in the other group to send a clear message that they are as strong as the holders.