With close to 3,000 supporters gathering to watch the game at the stadium and over 50,000 viewers watching the match online, the semi-finals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-15 Women’s championship between Bhutan and Bangladesh on August 16 remains one of the most games of the championship so far.

Host Bhutan and defending champions, Bangladesh played for the second time, nine months after their first face off at Dhaka, Bangladesh last year. The Bhutanese conceded 3-0 then.

The girls walked off disappointed after suffering a 0-5 defeat at home last Thursday at the Changlingmithang. The result handed the team two consecutive losses after a 0-1 loss to India in the final group stage match.

Bhutan’s coach Sung Jea Lee said Bangladesh team displayed higher skill and physical game. “Physical power is important in the game and they were better with this.”

He said that the team played a composed game. “We had the experience of playing them before. But most of our players were young and I wanted them to gain good experience. This kind of competition is good for us,” said Sung Jea Lee.

The coach also said that there is not much focus on women football globally. “If we are to improve women’s football, we have to increase investment.”

Bangladesh coach Golam Robbani Choton said his team proved that they are the favorite team. “They will win the final if they play the way they have played so far. We came here to win the title once again.”

He said Bhutan was better this time. “The result did not favour them because we were better prepared and experienced. Bhutan should have played more attacking game to let the crowd know about their development,” said Golam Robbani Choton.

Considered one of the biggest competitions in South Asia, the championship is two years old. Bhutan is the second country to host the regional tournament after Bangladesh.

A disappointing semi for Nepal

In the first game of the semi finals between Nepal and India, referee Adnan Anjum denied Nepal’s chance to take the game into extra time despite a protest from Nepal official over a handball inside the penalty area that blocked Nepal’s shot on target in the 89thminute.

The official was sent out of the official bench following the protest.

Nepal entered the game as a runner up team of Group B and played a closely contested match. It took 30 minutes for India to score the opener from forward Lynda Kom.

Nepal rebounded within seven minutes and scored an equaliser in the 37th minute to settle for 1-1 in the end of first half.

Nepal conceded its second goal in the 56th minute when a shot from long distance by India’s Kritina Devi was headed into the net by Nepal’s defender.  Nepal lost 2-0 to India.

The match saw India’s top scorer Shilky Devi being carried to hospital because of an injury in the last 10 minutes.

Shilky Devi was key a player that contirbuted the most  to india’s spot in the final that will be played at 7pm against Bangladesh oday.

Nepal will now play host Bhutan for the third place at 7pm today.

The two played in the earlier edition in Bangladesh and finished 1-1 draw. Bhutan claimed the third spot owing to its fewer goal difference last year.