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U-16 boys a win away from glory

53Bangladesh Under-16 football team is one win away from their maiden international title as they face holders India in the third SAFF Under-16 Football Championship final at Sylhet today.
The match, which will be telecast live on Bangladesh Television, will start at 5:00pm. The Bangladesh Football Federation has apologised for a blunder it committed in the match ticket, which mentioned a 6:00pm kick off.
It will be the second meeting between two neighbours in the meet with Bangladesh winning by 1-0 at group stage, gave them a psychological boost ahead of the final.
Bangladesh beat Afghanistan 1-0 in the first semi-final on Sunday to move to the final before India clinched an identical win over Nepal in the second semi-final.
The home side will miss the service of their in-form striker Sarwar Zaman Nipu, who received two yellow cards in the successive matches to be suspended for the final.
Bangladesh Under-16 coach Syed Golam Jilani, however, claimed the absence of the Nipu will make a little impact as he has got a few more options in the frontline.
‘We have enough options in the attacking line so I think Nipu’s absence will not affect us much,’ Jilani said during the pre-match press conference on Monday.
‘It’s true he [Nipu] is a speedy striker and he has the quality to keep the opponents busy but he received an unnecessary yellow card in the semi-final match.’
Jilani hinted that Mohammad Rony may replace Nipu, who scored two goals in the three matches.
Saaduzzaman, who scored the winner in the semi-final, also can take the place of Nipu in the starting lineup.
Jilani also said he has full faith on his charges and asked the people of Sylhet to extend their support that they provided throughout the tournament in the crucial game.
‘Our players are ready to face India and hopefully we will clinch the title,’ said the coach.
‘I wish the football fans [of Sylhet] will give their full support to encourage my boys to play their best football.’
‘The players are little bit tired as they have to play third match within six days.
But we beat India in the group stage that gives us extra motivation to overcome the fatigue.’
Bangladesh skipper Shawon Hossain, however, put India little bit ahead.
‘They [India] are better than us physically and mentally but we proved we have potential to beat them,’ said Shawon, who plays as winger.
‘We worked hard for this day and we will try heart and soul to delight the local fans.’
Indian coach Bithan Singh admitted they reached the final with the help of luck.
‘We are here only because the luck favoured us in the semi-final,’ said the coach.
‘We luckily got the early goal against Nepal but we know that will be not easy for us.
‘Bangladesh are playing really well and their two wingers are very dangerous.’
Indian coach also asked his charges not to lose their nerve before facing the home side in front of a jam-packed Sylhet District Stadium.
‘Bangladesh will get full support from the crowd and it will help them little bit than us but I kept my faith on my boys who have all quality to win the pressure,’ he said.