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  Football: India crowned SAFF U-18 champions
BHUBANESWAR,29 Sep 2019 (Team Orisports)

India lifted the SAFF U-18 Championship for the first time when they defeated Bangladesh 2-1 in the final at APF Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal today. Ninthoinganba Meetei of India was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Odisha mid-fielder Tankadhar Bag was part of the 23-member Indian team.

This was the third edition of the SAFF U-18 Championship, which was first held in 2015. Nepal had won the title both times in the past. As many as six countries participated in the third edition of the championship.


Drawn in Group B, India started campaign on unimpressive note as they were held to goalless draw by Bangladesh. But in the next match, Indian Colts thrashed Sri Lanka 3-0 book berth in the semifinals. Indian boys put up their best performance in the last-four stage where they trounced Maldives 4-0.

Goalkeepers: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Niraj Kumar. Defenders: Muhammed Rafi, Jitendra Singh, Akash Mishra, Narender, Bikash Yumnam, Sumit Rathi, Moirangthem Thoiba Singh, Hormipam Ruivah. Mid-fielders: Vikram Partap Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei Khumanthem, Tankadhar Bag, Givson Singh Moirangthem, Ricky John Shabong, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Ravi Bahadur Rana, Lalrampana Pautu, Vanlalruatfela Thlacheu. Forwards: Aman Chetri, Manvir Singh, Gurkirat Singh. Head Coach: Floyd Pinto

September 23: India drew with Bangladesh 0-0.
September 25: India (Gurkirat Singh 65’, 85’, Aman Chetri 89’) beat Sri Lanka 3-0.
September 27 (Semi-finals): India (Narender Gahlot 7’, Ahnaf Rasheedh 45+1’ OG, Manvir Singh 79’, Ninthoinganba Meetei 81’) beat Maldives 4-0.
September 29 (Final): India (Vikram Partap Singh 2`, Ravi Bahadur Rana 90`+1`) beat Bangladesh (Yeasin Arafat 40`) 2-1.
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TOP: Players of India U-18 team celebrate after emerging champions in Kathmandu on 29 September, 2019.
RIGHGT: India U-18 mid-fielder Tankadhar Bag of Odisha in Kathmandu on 29 September, 2019.


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