Striker Gurkirat Singh scored four goals as India beat Bangladesh 5-2 in extra time in the SAFF U-20 Championship final here on Friday.
Both teams were tied 1-1 at half-time and 2-2 in regulation.
Gurkirat scored in the 1st, 60th, 94th and 99th minutes respectively, while Himanshu Jangar scored another goal in the 92nd minute. Rajon Holadar and Shaheen Mia scored for Bangladesh in the 44th and 48th minutes respectively at the Kalinga Stadium.
Drama unfolded immediately after kick-off as India were awarded a penalty 20 seconds in. Himanshu collected a long pass from the right, sidestepped his marker and unleashed a long ranger that beat rival goalkeeper Md. Asif manages to block it diving low to his right. Gurkeerat, lurking around, was quick to react to the rebound. Asif in a desperate attempt to stop Gurkeer brought the Indian striker down inside the box. Gurkirat happily converted from the spot to give India an early lead.
The lead should have been doubled in the 32nd minute, with the easiest chance of the half. But Gurkeerat failed to show the way home. Taisan Singh also missed a chance in the 43rd minute. India missed the chance as Bangladesh equalized on the stroke of half-time thanks to Rajon Holadar’s strike.
After changing the over, Bangladesh took the lead within three minutes. Amandeep miscued a clearance from an innocuous free-kick and it fell into the hands of Shane Miah, whose shot hit the post and curled in. First substitute for India in the 57th minute was Tankdhar Bagg, who gave way to Mahesan Singh and countered many of India’s chances. The path after that.
The equalizer came within three minutes when Gurkeerat received a clearance just outside the box and he struck with his right foot in the 60th minute. Himanshu had another chance in the 63rd minute, but the onrushing Asif cleared the threat. Bangladesh.
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Four minutes later, Himanshu’s pass to Asif was slightly weak, allowing Azizul Haq to make a goal-line clearance. Asif was also in strong form when he dived to clear Bikash Yamnam’s curling centre. Head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh replaced Taisan Singh with Harsh Patre and India took the lead in the second minute of extra time (92nd minute).
Himanshu followed up Harsh Patre’s delightful defense splitting pass and finished first time with his left foot. Gurkeerat completed his hat-trick in the 94th minute and Himanshu turned provider this time. The fifth goal for India came in the 99th minute. Gurkirat scored on the second screamer. He turned past two defenders and fired home from about 30 yards.
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