Bangladesh will need to make a small piece of history in the SAFF Women's Championship if they are to ensure back-to-back final berths when they take on four-time champions India in the semifinal at the Sahid Rangsala in Biratnagar today.
The match will get underway at 3:15pm after the first semifinal between hosts Nepal and Sri Lanka at 11:00am at the same ground.
India have never been defeated in the 21 matches they have played in the SAFF Women's Championship since the inaugural edition in 2010, all the while averaging an incredible 6.23 goals per game. They were held to a draw only once, a goalless encounter against Bangladesh after 18 consecutive wins in the regional women's football extravaganza.
However, India are standing firmly in the way of Bangladesh's dream of playing consecutive finals and making history. The four-time champions are on song and have recorded massive wins against Maldives (6-0) and Sri Lanka (5-0) in the group stage, with seven different goalscorers.
Beating their neighbours is going to be as hard a task as climbing Mount Everest for Bangladesh, but it is not impossible as the young ladies showed when they almost caught out their superior opponents two years ago during that goalless draw.
A positive attitude was reflected by the girls when they were training at the Delhi Public School ground yesterday.
"India are obviously a strong team but there is no reason to be nervous about playing them because we played South Korea, Japan and China as part of our preparations for the AFC Age-Group Championships. I told my teammates that there is nothing to be worried about because although India are ahead of us in terms of experience, we have an opportunity to reach the final by performing well," captain Sabina Khatun said after training. "I scored against India before and will try my best to score again. But we also have other players capable of scoring and hopefully they will try to avail the opportunities."
Bangladesh are likely to make two changes by including fit-again Krishna Rani Sarker and Sanjida Khatun in place of Misrat Jahan Moushumi and Nilufar Yesmin. They are also likely to play attacking football to get a goal as early as possible.
"We are not thinking about the past or India's strength. We will go for a win and the girls will give their all," said head coach Golam Rabbani Choton. "As a coach, I don't believe tomorrow [Wednesday] will be the last day for Bangladesh because there are many instances in football of weaker teams overcoming big hurdles."
Indian coach Maymol Rocky believes Bangladesh will be tough opponents but was confident of advancing.
“Bangladesh are one of the good sides in the tournament and meeting them will be difficult. We will play up to the mark and thus go through to the final," Rocky said. "We can't say that we will win the match directly because Bangladesh can come hard at us, but we are also prepared for tiebreakers."