New Delhi: India won the SAFF U-18 football championship for the first time after defeating Bangladesh 2-1 in the final in Kathmandu on Sunday.
India took the lead in the second minute when Vikram Partap Singh sped past his marker and took a shot which found the back of the net. The match-winner came in late in injury time when the nippy Ravi Bahadur Rana scored off a screamer from about 30 yards. In between, Yeasin Arafat reduced the margin for Bangladesh in the 40th minute.
“I had maintained that it will take a moment of brilliance to end this SAFF Championship, and it was fitting that Ravi finished if off with a wonderful strike,” India’s head coach Floyd Pinto said after the match.
India’s Ninthoinganba Meetei was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
The victory comes on the back of India winning the U-15 SAFF championship, beating Bangladesh in the final in August. While the U-16 national team went on to qualify for the AFC U-16 tourney, the U-19 Team will play the AFC qualifiers in November in their quest to qualify for the AFC finals.