HANGZHOU: After a daunting loss against China in the opening game, India secured a narrow victory over Bangladesh as skipper Sunil Chhetri scored in penalty in the 85th minute, here at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre on Thursday to keep, to keep qualification hopes alive.
The victory put India in the third spot in Group A with three points from two matches. The top two teams along with four of the six best-placed third-place teams will qualify for the round of 16.
India began the game strongly, with Bryce Miranda making notable plays from the flanks. He delivered a dan-gerous cross to Sunil Chhetri, but the Indian skipper’s shot missed the target. Bangladesh gained momentum later, yet India’s defense, led by Jhingan and Dheeraj, remained solid. Post the 30th minute, India increased their attack intensity, but Bangladesh’s defense held firm.
In the stoppage time of the first half, India pressed hard, taking three shots, including attempts by Chhetri and Rahul KP. Unfortunately, all were saved, maintaining the score at 0-0 for half-time. The second half began with Rahul missing a golden opportunity. In the 57th minute, Dheeraj stepped up after a defensive error nearly allowed Bangladesh a scoring chance.
In the 64th minute, Kynshi’s long-range free-kick hit the post, bringing India close to scoring. However, in the 77th minute, Bangladesh had a near-scoring opportunity, but Dheeraj made a brilliant save. The game took a turn in the 83rd minute with a penalty awarded to India after a challenge on Bryce in the box. Chhetri converted the penalty, granting India the lead. The Indian defense stood strong for the rest of the game, securing a 1-0 victory and three crucial points in the campaign. IANS