Hosts Bangladesh kicked off their Bangamata U-19 Women’s International Gold Cup campaign with a win, beating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-0 in the tournament opener at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Sirat Jahan Swapna and Krishna Rani Sarker scored one goal apiece as an approximately 5000 strong crowd cheered from the stands at the big bowl.
|Bangladesh 2 - 0 UAE
Sirat Jahan Swapna 12’
Krishna Rani Sarker 30’
With this win Bangladesh, comprised of national players with the exception of Sabina Khatun, might have put their frustrations over last month’s SAFF Women’s Championship behind them, however, the girls in red and green should have had more composure in the attacking third against UAE, who could not muster even a single shot on target throughout the match.
Bangladesh faced the same problem against senior sides during the SAFF Women’s Championship in Nepal but the fact that they lacked an edge against a similar age-group team proved to be quite exasperating.
After the kick-off, forward Sirat Jahan Swapna was caught by the offside trap trice within the first five minutes while left-back Shamsunnahar and winger Krishna Rani were more focused on showcasing their individual skills. In contrast, a well organised approach in the attacking third could have brought the home team a bigger margin of victory, just as it had during the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers.
Rather than adopt a defensive strategy, the UAE attempted to play pressing football from the onset even though the side are far behind Bangladesh in terms of strength, skill, running and shooting.
On the other hand, the charges of Golam Rabbani Choton got off to a flying start with striker Sirat Jahan Swapna threatening the opposition’s goal in the very first minute. The speedster then controlled the ball nicely trice inside the danger zone within the first five minutes with only the goalkeeper beat, however, she fell into the offside trap each time, just as she always does in international matches.
Nevertheless, it was Swapna, who broke the deadlock in the 12th minute, breaking the offside trap after availing a long ball from Akhi Khatun to race into the box and shoot the ball past goalkeeper Aya Walid Malalla.
Afterwards, the UAE survived two more scares as Krishna Rani Sarker miscused shot which went wide with only the Aya Walid to beat while Swapna struck one straight at the goalkeeper from a one-on-one situation in the 18th minute.
On the half-hour mark, Krishna made amends by nodding a Monica Chakma corner home from the six-yard box to double the margin.
After resumption, Bangladesh remained the dominant side but they could no longer find the back of the UAE’s net, despite having exposed the backline time and again. Bangladesh had three more chances to score in the second half but to no avail. Substitute Marzia made the visitors sweat from the left flank but goalkeeper Aya Walid made some brilliant saves to frustrate Bangladesh’s forwards.
Bangladesh will play their second match against Kyrgyzstan on April 26.