Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (IANS) Bangladesh registered a 3-0 victory over Bhutan while Afghanistan beat the Maldives 4-1 in the SAFF Championship at the Trivandrum International Stadium here on Monday.
Even though Bangladesh won, they crashed out of the tournament along with Bhutan. Afghanistan and Maldives qualify from Group B for the semi-finals. From Group A, India and Sri Lanka have already made the last four. On Monday, for Bangladesh, Topu Barman scored once and Mohammad Shakawat Hossain Rony struck a brace.
In the second game, for Afghanistan Omid Popalzay struck twice and Faysal Shayesteh and Ahmad Arash Hatifi netted once each. Ali Fasir scored the only goal for Maldives. In the eighth minute, Mark Barman gave Bangladesh the lead with a strong header from inside the box. Some minutes later, the situation got worse for Bhutan when a case of mistaken identity saw Chimi Dorji sent off for a tackle from behind on Hemonta Biswas inside the box by Jigme Dorjee.
Rony stepped up and calmly tucked the ball in for his side’s second of the evening. At half-time, Bangladesh led 2-0. After the breather, in the 67th minute of the game, Rony darted into space with the ball and then rolled it past the onrushing goalkeeper for Bangladesh’s third goal. In the other contest, Afghanistan made easy meat of Maldives with swift and pacy attacks. Shayesteh scored Afghanistan’s opener but a few minutes later Fasir equalised for Maldives.
But Fasir and his team’s joy was short-lived as Popalzay found the back of the net with a stunning free-kick two minutes later. At the break, Afghanistan led 2-1. The restart resulted in Afghanistan launching a series of attacks and at the 51st minute Hatifie scored with a piledriver. Three minutes later, Popalzay found the net again to gift his side an easy victory. In the semifinals on December 31, India will play Maldives, whereas Sri Lanka will lock horns with Afghanistan.