Print Edition - 2015-12-25 | Sports
Afghans, Maldives win
- saff championship
Dec 25, 2015-
Defending champions Afghanistan began their Saff Championship campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Bangladesh, while Maldives also registered convincing 3-1 victory over Bhutan in their opening Group ‘B’ matches at the Trivandrum International Stadium in Kerala, India, on Thursday.
Afghanistan, in their last outing in Saff Championship after deciding to join Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in Central Asia zone, hammered Bangladesh on goals from Masih Saighani, Faysal Shayesteh, Zubayr Amiri and Khaibar Amani.
The Afghans, who emerged as South Asian football powerhouse defeating India 2-0 in the 2013 edition of the biennial tournament, took time to settle in the match before opening the floodgates with a 30th minute strike from Saighani. Shayesteh added another two minutes later and Amiri made it 3-0 in the 40th. Amani completed the rout scoring the fourth goal in the 69th minute.
Bhutan, who have proved themselves as an improved side since their victories over Sri Lanka in the World Cup Qualifiers early this year, showed some guts against a strong Maldivian side before succumbing with a wide-margin defeat.Ahmed Imaaz put Maldives ahead with a ninth minute goal but Bhutan hit back 11 minutes later through Tshering Dorji. Asadhulla Abdulla regained the lead for Maldives in the 31st minute to go into the second half with one-goal advantage. Maldives’ renowned striker Ali Ashfaq killed the game with a 70th minute goal.
On Friday, hosts India will take on Sri Lanka in a Group ‘A’ game to determine their fate for the semi-finals. Sri Lanka had stunned Nepal 1-0 in the tournament opener on Wednesday and a draw on Friday will be enough for them to seal a place in the last four. Nepal, who are in a danger of group stage exit, will meet India on Monday.
Published: 25-12-2015 10:25