Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Thiruvananthapuram: Defending champions Afghanistan kicked off their 2015 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship campaign in dominant style following a 4-0 win over Bangladesh on Thursday evening.
Despite entering the clash at the Trivandrum International Stadium as huge favourites, the Afgans initially faced stern resistance in the opening exchanges from a stubborn Bangladesh outfit determined to prove they were not going to be pushovers.
Afghanistan did however gradually find their rhythm and broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark when defender Masih Saigani popped up at the other end to head home a corner.
Two minutes later, their lead was doubled when playmaker Faysal Shayesteh scored with a deft chip, before Zubayr Amiri made it 3-0 four minutes before halftime when he found himself one-on-one with the opposition keeper and lifted his shot into the back of the net.
By now, the Afghans were comfortably cruising towards victory but, just for good measure, Khaibar Amani weighed in with a fourth in the 69th minute to cap off an excellent evening’s work for his team.
The victory was enough to send Afghanistan top of Group B, ahead of Maldives, who beat Bhutan 3-1 earlier in the evening, on goal difference.
Petar Segrt's charges are looking to become only the second team to win back-to-back SAFF Championships, with India the only side to have achieved the feat so far in 1997-99 and 2009-11.
Photo: Lagardère Sports