Hosts Bangladesh and India declared joint champions in the four-nation South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-19 Women's Championship 2024 after a two-hour-long delayed decision following the match commissioner's shameful fault in the final on Thursday.
The title-deciding and tense-packed final match between two neighbouring rivals was locked in 1-1 goals in the stipulated 90-minute at the Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Shipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur in Dhaka on Thursday evening.
Then the match moved toward the tiebreaker where it was again locked in 5-5 goals in the five shots.
The final match was again locked in 11-11 goals in the sudden death session of the tiebreaker that made match officials confused.
The match commissioner then surprisingly advised the match referee to decide the fate of the final through a toss (by a coin) instead of continuing the sudden death session as per bylaws.
India won the toss and started their maiden title celebration, but the Bangladesh team refused the referee's illegal toss decision and stayed on the field alongside their huge local fans.
Complying with the Bangladesh protest and reviewing the tournament's bye-laws, the commissioner and referee changed their decision and advised both teams to continue the sudden death session to decide the champions.
But India regretted the new decision and left the field immediately, saying that they did not expect any result but the champions.
Finally, both teams were jointly declared champions by the SAFF authorities. The match commissioner also admitted his fault.
Minister for Youth and Sports Nazmul Hasan Papon, also the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), was present in the match as the chief guest and played a good role in getting an amicable settlement.
Earlier in the day's match, Sibani Devu, who made a hattrick in India's 10-0 goals victory over Bhutan in the tournament opener, put India ahead in the very 8th minute by a cool placing shot, off a Nitu Linda's through pass,utilising the lapses of Bangladesh defender and custodian Swarna Rani Sarkar (1-0).
When the match was almost heading for an Indian victory, then Bangladeshi wonder girl Sagorika again came to rescue Bangladesh scoring the match equaliser in the 4th minute of the stoppage time amid huge enthusiasm from local fans (1-1).
It was the 4th goal for Sagorika in the ongoing tournament, scoring twice against Nepal and two against India—one in the group match and another in the final.
Incidentally, it was also the 4th successive win for Bangladesh against India after winning the SAFF U-19 Women's Championship title in 2021 beating India twice--first in the league match and second in the final match
Bangladesh also smartly reached the final of the ongoing meet with an all-win record securing nine points from straight three league matches beating Nepal 3-1, India 1-0 and outplaying all losers Bhutan by 4-0 goals.
India booked a seat for the final crushing Bhutan by 10-0 goals, outplaying by Nepal by 4-0 goals and losing to hosts Bangladesh by 0-1 goal.
Bangladesh team : Swarna Rani Sarkar, Afeida Khandokar, Ruma Akter, Joynob Bibi Rita, Surma Jannat, Munki Akhter, Sapna Rani, Masamat Sagorika, Puja Das, Eti Khatun and Bonna Khatun.