Youngster Tahura Khatun put the home side ahead at the stroke of the opening half before tall defender Akhi Khatun doubled the lead at the mid stages of the second half to ensure a dominating show in the group for the Maria Manda-led side
The Bangladesh girls emerged as the group champion in the opening round of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers as they beat Vietnam 2-0 at Bir Sreshtha Shaheed Sipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Youngster Tahura Khatun put the home side ahead at the stroke of the opening half before tall defender Akhi Khatun doubled the lead at the mid stages of the second half to ensure a dominating show in the group for the Maria Manda-led side.
With the victory, Bangladesh have won all four games of the group, scoring 27 goals without conceding even a single one. It was the second time in a row for the Bengal girls to conclude the group campaign, not only at the top, but with 100% winning record.
They made history by qualifying for the final round two years ago but this time around, the format has been changed as they have to go through another round of qualifiers to achieve the feat.
The host dominated the midfield from the beginning with Maria and Monika Chakma leading the way, but they had to wait a while to start penetrating the compact Vietnam defence.
A couple of long-range efforts from Maria and Ritu Porna Chakma in the 10th and 22nd minute were mitigated by the defence easily.
Bangladesh U-16 women’s team head coach Golam Rabbani Choton hoped the latest success in the @theafcdotcom U-16 Championship Qualifiers could be an inspiration for not only the victorious girls but also for the others in Bangladesh’s football arena.https://t.co/mf2X1VBtZV#BFF— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) September 23, 2018
Shamsunnahar found the back of the net in the 38th minute with a right-footer from the edge of the box after fine build-up but the goal was disallowed due to offside.
Another of the host’s goals was disallowed for the same reason in the second half.
The star pair of Tahura and Shamsunnahar from the four-nation U-15 youth tournament in Hong Kong in March this year played a joint role in breaking the deadlock in the added time of the first half after a sorry blunder from Vietnam goalkeeper Dao Thi Oanh.
A long ball slipped from the hands of the Vietnam keeper inside the box, Shamsunnahar headed the ball forward immediately before Tahura gave the final touch with a running low header from a yard away.
Tahura consistently threatened the defence through the right flank and the goal was a reward for the talented forward.
Akhi, who has been the pillar for Bangladesh in the back, and also a prolific supplier of dangerous balls from behind, scored her first goal of the tournament to double the lead in the 65th minute.
She smashed home from the edge of the six yard box from her second effort during a goal mouth melee.
Shamsunnahar’s hit from Monika’s corner struck the post before Akhi unleashed a powerful right-footed shot that was blocked by the keeper, but the tall girl was aware and she placed the rebound with a left-footed drive to make the crowd of around 7,000-8,000 ecstatic.
Akhi didn’t have to think much about the defence when she moved freely around the opponent’s terrain during the set-pieces.
Her centre-back partner Nazma put up a promising display to keep the back-four protected from random Vietnam attacks by making some good tackles.
Top finishers from six groups, along with the two best runners-up sides, split into two groups will play in the second round of the qualifiers which will be held in February-March next year.
The two group winners and runners-up sides will join host Thailand and the top three finishers in 2017 – North Korea, South Korea and Japan - in the final round battle, scheduled to take place in 2019.
Bangladesh U-16 2 (Tahura 45+1, Akhi 65) 0 Vietnam U-16