As the Players were on their way to the ground from the Dressing Room for the restart after the interval in the AFC U-23 AFC Championship in Dhaka, Bangabandhu National Stadium enveloped in total darkness – the lights went off. The Players went back to the Dressing Room, got cooled down in the process and waited. The wait lasted another 40 minutes, in total an interval of 55 minutes.
And when it eventually glowed in full might, the light went off the India U-23 boys on the field – they looked almost in total dark in the second half. The energy level which had snatched all the initiative in the first half was nowhere visible, there wasn’t any shape maintained and the transition, at times, took place at a walking pace.
All that enabled Bangladesh to dominate though never that threatening enough as India in the first 45 minutes. Apart from Siam Hangal’s shot from close which mooned over after some delectable play down the left immediately after the interval, there wasn’t anything worth mentioning about India in the second half.
The match finally ended 0-0 and India finished Group E with one point.
Earlier in the first half, Sumit Passi playing his first match in the Championship made an impact in the 8th minute itself when Yeasin Khan was shown the yellow card for bringing him down just outside the 18-yard box. However, Avinash Rui Das’ resultant free-kick hit the wall and deflected for a corner.
The first shy at the rival goal came in the 16th minute, Midfielder Germanpreet Singh’s long ranger dipped viciously only to go wide as India pressed right from the kick-off.
In the 33rd minute, a defensive lapse almost saw Holicharan Narzary in the clear but Nurul Faisal was quick to recover and thwart the former. Holicharan also had the best chance in the first half when he directed Avinash’s cross into the net from inside the 6-yard box but an acrobatic rival Goalkeeper Liton palmed it away. There were a series of corners which India earned in the first half but it didn’t count.
Meanwhile, a dominant Syria U-23 defeated Uzbekistan U-23 to top Group E and book a berth in the final phase of the AFC U-23 Finals to be held in Doha.
Bangladesh held India 0-0 in the final match of the Group E of the AFC U23 Qualifying Round
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