Sunil Chhetri scores, but India is tied with Bangladesh with 10 points at the SAFF championship opener

The Indian men’s soccer team was faced with a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh at their 2021 SAFF championship kick-off on Monday at 10 a.m. Yeasin Arafat’s 74th-minute header nullified Sunil Chhetri’s goal in the 26th minute of the game as both teams went one point out of the game. It was the first game of the tournament for India while it was the second for Bangladesh. Thanks to the tie, Bangladesh now have four points in two games. The two best teams from the group of five move into the final, in which the winner of the championship is determined.

India then meets Sri Lanka on October 7th, while Bangladesh meets the Maldives on the same day. Currently, Bangladesh and Nepal (who beat the Maldives in the opener) are poised to advance to the finals.

Sunil Chhetri gave India the lead in the 27th minute with a fantastic one-touch finish after Udanta Singh’s pass. Udanta played on the right and brought the ball back to Chhetri, who was right and only needed a touch to find the back of the net.

Bangladesh had a chance to equalize shortly afterwards, but Jamal Bhuyan’s dangerous free-kick went right in front of goal. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu defended India’s lead in the 39th minute when he held off Rakib Hossain with a solid save. It was a fantastic counterattack from Bangladesh and Saad Uddin had crossed the Indian baseline. While surrounded, he passes the ball to Rakib on the left, whose shot is parried by Gurpreet.

Bangladesh had some chances of finding the end of the web, but their inability to complete the move cost them a lot.

Bangladesh started the second half vigorously but fell to 10 men in the 54th minute after Bishwanath Ghosh received a red card for fouling Liston Colaco. Liston hit the goal and Bishwanath was the last defender, knocking the Indian to the ground.

Despite the fall of a man, Bangladesh did not give up and continued to put pressure on India. In the 61st minute, Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman struck Manvir Singh and Udanta with a fantastic double save to keep Bangladesh in the game.

Bangladesh continued to do some things in the midfield, but in the final third they were just precise enough to put India at greater risk. But they kept winning midfield duels and looked dangerous every time they stepped onto the pitch in the Indian half.

They were finally rewarded for their persistence in the 74th minute as their youngster Yeasin Arafat scored his first senior team goal to bring Bangladesh up to par. Jamal Bhuyan landed a good corner and Arafat hit the net with a header.

The crowd, who lost their vote after the Bangladesh red card, regained their zeal when the trumpet started playing again, and they screamed and shouted again, urging Bangladesh to ask for more.

India have shown a little more urgency in the last 10 minutes to try to get a winner but it wasn’t enough and Bangladesh did extremely well to score a well deserved draw.

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