SAFF Cup: Afghanistan blitz Bangladesh in Group B encounter

The Lions of Khorasan roared after a subdued start to blitz Bangladesh 4-0 in a Group B match of the SAFF Suzuki Cup football championship at the Greenfield Stadium here on Thursday.

Masih Saighani of Afghanistan (centre) celebrating after scoring the first goal against Bangladesh at the SAFF Suzuki Cup football tournament.   -  S GOPAKUMAR

The Lions of Khorasan roared after a subdued start to blitz Bangladesh 4-0 in a Group B match of the SAFF Suzuki Cup football championship at the Greenfield Stadium here on Thursday.

After raising issues of poor organisation, the defending champions made an emphatic statement on the football field with an authoritative win. Two goals in the space of a minute in the first half effectively snuffed out Bangladesh’s challenge.

Bangladesh managed to keep a clean slate till the half hour mark which was admirable considering the quality and depth of the Afghanistani attack. Things started ominously for Bangladesh in the 30th minute when goalkeeper Sahidul Alam parried away a low shot from Mustafa Hadid for a corner. The corner was whipped in by Hassin Amin to an unmarked Zubayr Amri who headed it back towards the Bangla goal where Masih Saighani rose above the defenders to head in the first goal in the 31st minute.

Afghanistan went 2-0 up in the very next minute as Zubayr Amri, after receiving a long ball from Saighani, squared it to captain Faysal Shayesteh who deftly lobbed it over the onrushing goalkeeper for the second goal.

The two quick goals killed effectively killed the contest and Afghanistan increased the lead in the 41st minute off a counter attack, a minute after Sohel Rana missed an easy chance for Bangladesh. Mustafa Zazai’s long ball found Zubyr Amri who after collecting the ball chipped it over the onrushing goalkeeper.

Obviously, the Bangladeshis slowed the tempo and tried to hold on to the ball longer in the second half but still couldn’t prevent another Afghanistan goal. Khaibar Amani, who had come on as a substitute two minutes earlier, found space and time inside the Bangladesh box to score the fourth goal for his side in the 70th minute.

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