Bangladesh national women’s football team dazzled the small but vocal Bangladeshi crowd at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal, and defeated Pakistan 6-0 in their second match of the SAFF Women’s Championship on Saturday.
Captain Sabina Khatun scored a hat-trick, while Monika Chakma, Sirat Jahan and Rituporna Chakma scored one goal each as Bangladesh routed their Pakistani counterparts. The hat-trick earned Sabina her second straight player of the match award.
This was Sabina’s second hat-trick in SAFF Championships as earlier she had scored five past Afghanistan in a 6-0 win in the 2016 SAFF Championship held in India.
Bangladesh are now at touching distance from a spot in the semifinal. If India defeats the Maldives in the next group-stage match, Bangladesh will automatically qualify for the knockout stage.
Bangladesh’s third and final group-stage match will be against India on 13 September.
Bangladesh’s victory against Pakistan, who are taking part in an international competition after eight years, was more than expected.
Pakistan had players like Maria Khan, Syeda Mafara and Zulfia Najir, who play in the UAE league. They tested Bangladesh’s defence a couple of times but couldn’t really trouble Bangladesh.
Bangladesh won their tournament opener 3-0 against the Maldives but were guilty of missing a number of goal-scoring opportunities.
But against Pakistan, they made their opportunities count. Bangladesh played attacking football from the start and were rewarded almost immediately.
In just the third minute of the match, Monika scored a goal from a rebound to put Bangladesh ahead.
After conceding an early goal, Pakistan opted for an even more defensive approach, using six players in defence.
But the Bangladeshi girls skillfully broke down Pakistan’s defensive wall with buildup football from the back.
Sirat scored the second goal of the match, tapping in a through pass from Sabina.
Sabina then got herself on the scoresheet in the 30th minute, when Pakistani defender Hajera Khan failed to clear a pass from Monika, lobbing it up in the air for Sabina to skillfully tap the ball past Pakistan keeper Shahid Bukhari.
Sabina scored her second goal just five minutes later, utilising a cross from Sanjida.
After halftime, Sabina completed her hat-trick by scoring her 19th goal in SAFF Championships. She headed the ball home in the 59th minute with Maria assisting her with the cross.
Rituporna, who came in as substitute for Krishna, scored in the 77th minute with a powerful long-range shot which evaded the grasp of the Pakistan keeper.
The Bangladesh women’s team had encountered Pakistan once before, in the 2010 SA Games, which they won 2-0.