India, Bangladesh share SAFF U19 trophy

Wednesday 14th February 2024 05:38 EST

In a bizarre end, India and Bangladesh ended up as joint winners of the South Asian Football Federation U-19 women’s championship after the final which ended one-all during playing time, led to a shootout where 11 penalties each were scored by both sides, then a coin toss to decide the winner. It led to onfield protests, a walkout and a lot of drama. In the end both teams were declared joint winners.

Eleven kicks from each team went unsaved in the penalty shootout after hosts Bangladesh earned a 93rd-minute equaliser to end regulation time on equal terms - Sagorika for the hosts cancelling Sibani Devi’s eighth-minute opener.

Then, the referee Anjana Rai of Nepal called skippers to the middle of the pitch for a coin toss and declared the visitors champions. While the capacity crowd at the stadium were left in disbelief, the victorious Indians celebrated a crucial victory after ending up on the losing side in the 2019 summit clash against the same opponents and would have had scripted a comeback from their loss against Bangladesh in the round-robin fixture by virtue of another injury time winner from the hosts. However, the Bangladesh contingent protested the manner of decision and complained to the match commissioner even as AIFF posted “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” on its ‘X’ handle.

As there is no rule for a coin toss as decider in SAFF tournament, or in the International Association Football Board rule book, the commissioner agreed that the penalty should have been continued and decided to crown both teams champions of the 2024 edition.

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