Tohura Khatun scored a hattrick as Bangladesh smashed Nepal 6-0 in their first match of the SAFF U-15 Women's Championship at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.
Anuching Mogini scored twice while Monika Chakma, adjudged the most valuable player of the game, netted the other as the hosts lived up to the hype of being favourites in the four-nation competition. Regional powerhouse India had kicked off the competition with a 3-0 victory over Bhutan in the first match of the day.
Bangladesh had beaten Nepal 9-0 in their triumphant campaign of the AFC U-14 Girls' Regional Championship in 2016 in Tajikistan. Many of the players of both sides have come from those squads, which is why a convincing victory was always expected from Golam Rabbani Choton's charges. The hosts had the lion's share of possession and had numerous shots on target, and the margin of victory could have been bigger had they not wasted a number of chances in the second half.
Bangladesh started the match brightly and could have broken the deadlock in the seventh minute had Marzia not blasted the ball over the bar from in front of goal with Nepal goalkeeper Kareena Dhimal nowhere in sight. However, it took four more minutes for the hosts to take the lead as Monika's goalbound attempt from a corner kick was inadvertently turned in by a Nepal defender.
The lead was doubled by an acrobatic side-volley by Anuching four minutes later while Tohura, dubbed the Messi of Kalshindur, made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute with a placing shot after having darted into the box from the left side. Choton's charges went into the break with a four-goal lead, thanks to a stoppage-time tap-in with Anuching alongside Tohura being the providers.
Bangladesh continued to dominate the game in the second half as Tohura grabbed her second goal in the 59th minute, poking in on the far post after Anuching's goalbound attempt was blocked by a Nepal defender. The nippy forward completed her hattrick in the 72nd minute with a powerful left-footed strike from inside the box before Monika's shot came off the crossbar and a few more chances were spurned.
Choton was, nevertheless, happy with the outcome, having got the first hurdle out of the way. “We have two targets in this competition. First is to win and second is to entertain. I think our players did both jobs successfully today,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“Yes, there were a few chances wasted, but that is part of the game. We could analyse the match and try to rectify those things, but winning was the most important thing,” Choton added.
Tohura, who scored her second hattrick after having scored the first in the AFC tournament's final against India last year, was equally happy. “Our target was to play well and become champions. We have started on the right foot,” she said.
Bangladesh will take on Bhutan in their next match at 11:30am tomorrow morning while India will square off against Nepal in the day's second game at 2:30pm.