Defending champions Bangladesh started their SAFF Under-15 campaign crushing Bhutan by 5-2 goals on Friday at Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal.
Al Mirad scored twice for Bangladesh while Md Al Amin Rahman, Md Emon Islam Babu and Shuvo Sarkar netted one goal each.
On the other hand, Sonam Jugdrul Chozang and Phub Dorji scored one goal each for Bhutan.
Forward Al Amin opened the account for Bangladesh in the 15th minute (1-0). But within two minutes, defender Chozang levelled the score.
In the 21st minute, forward Mirad doubled the margin for Bangladesh scoring his first goal (2-1) while defender Phub Dorji equalised (2-2) in the 32nd minute for Bhutan.
Bangladesh continued their attacking football. In the 45th minute, substitute midfielder Shuvo netted third goal for his side (3-2) just before the half time.
In the second half, both teams produced some good chances but failed to convert goals.
In the 80th minutes, forward Al Mirad widened the margin scoring his second goal (4-2) and another substitute midfielder Babu sealed the victory for Bangladesh scoring fifth goal in the stoppage time (94th minute) (5-2).
The match saw four players – defender Munna Ahmed and forward Al Mirad of Bangladesh and midfielder Lekzin Norbu and defender Kinley Gyeltshen of Bhutan – getting yellow cards.
In their next match, Bangladesh will play against Sri Lanka on August 25. They will take on Nepal on August 27 and hosts India on August 29 at the same venue.
In a post-match briefing, forward Al Mirad said, “I feel good today. After the first half, the coach told us to put pressure on the opponents and avoid conceding goals. We just followed his instructions. We’ll do the same thing in the next match against Sri Lanka.”
In day’s second match, Nepal defeated Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals at the same venue.
After the barren first half, Sasank Bohora opened account for Nepal in the 46th minute while Asim Rai sealed the victory scoring second goal in the 83rd minute.
A 30-member Bangladesh team – 23 booters and seven officials – reached Nadia district in West Bengal on August 19 to participate in the competition.
Bangladesh clinched their first title of SAFF Under-15 Championship beating India in penalty shootout (4-2) in the final at the Sylhet District Stadium on August 18, 2015 while they clinched the title for the second time beating Pakistan in penalty shootout (3-2) in the final at the ANFA Complex in Kathmandu on November 3, 2018.
The 23-member squad: Md Rakibul Islam (C), Al Mirad, Md Alamin Rahman, Sayed Nayeem Ahmed, Md Pias Ahmmed Nova, Shahin Molla, Mehdi Hasan Srabon, Apurbo Mali, Shuvo Sarkar, Munna Ahmed, Md Emon Islam Babu, Md Arifur Rahman Raju, Sirajul Islam Rana, Md Rabby Hosen, Sajed Hasan Jummon Nijum, Mohammad Azizul Hoque Ananto, Kazirul Islam Hridoy, Jayanto Lal, Md Sabbir Gazi, Md Golam Rabby, Md Badsha Mia, Md Rahib Hossain, Jony Sikder.