India soar, Sri Lanka fight back for win
Kalyani: India started their 2019 SAFF U-15 Championship campaign with a resounding win over Nepal while Sri Lanka came from behind to defeat Bhutan on Wednesday.
Hosts India were in fine form against Nepal, scoring a 5-0 win at the Kalyani Stadium, while Sri Lanka edged Bhutan 3-2 to get their first three points in the five-team tournament.
The top two teams at the end of the round robin competition will square off in the final on August 31 with the tournament serving as valuable exposure ahead of the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in September.
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INDIA 5-0 NEPAL
It was an all-round display by the Indians as five different players scored for the Blue Colts - Maheson Singh, Shubho Paul, Anish Mazumder, Taison Singh and Sridarth.
The home side started off swiftly, as Maheson cut in and unleashed a fierce right-footer that rocketed into the goal six minutes into the game.
After an initial spell of domination, Maheson made his way down the right flank in the 24th minute and crossed for Shubho Paul to tap home from inside the six-yard-box.
Just before the end of the first half, India struck again, this time through captain Mazumder, who leapt above the rest of the pack and nodded the ball into the net.
Taison curled in a fourth for India five minutes after the restart as the home side were awarded a free-kick outside the area. In the 56th minute, Sridarth was played into the box, and the youngster slipped the ball past the opposition keeper to make it five.
India face Bhutan in their second match on Sunday.
SRI LANKA 3-2 BHUTAN
Sri Lanka fought back from 2-0 down to defeat Bhutan 3-2, with the winning goal coming in the second minute of second half added time.
Bhutan shocked Sri Lanka by taking the lead in the seventh minute through Kinzang Tenzin and they were good value for it as they dominated the first half.
Bhutan looked to be coasting to victory when Sonam Jugdrul Chozang widened their lead two minutes into the second half but Thushmika Jayalath sparked the Sri Lankan fightback when he reduced the deficit five minutes later.
Spurred by the goal, Sri Lanka increased their intensity and drew level through Inshan Muhammed Mihranin the 73rd minute, setting the stage for an exciting finish.
As both teams went in search of the winning goal, it was Sri Lanka who would steal all three points with Muhammed Shakeel finding the back of the net in added time.
Fixtures - Friday (all times local): Bhutan vs Bangladesh (12:00); Sri Lanka vs Nepal (15:00).
Sources: South Asian Football Federation, All India Football Federation