India were held to a 1-1 draw by Bangladesh in the former’s opening match of the SAFF Championship 2021, at the National Football Stadium, in Male in Maldives. Captain Sunil Chhetri had put the Blue Tigers in the lead, before Bangladesh went down to 10 men after Biswanath Ghosh was given his marching order soon after the second half restart. However, Yeasin Arafat scored for Bangladesh to put his side to level terms in the second half. The Blue Tigers had a strong start to the match, as they got on the attack and troubled the Bangladesh defence from the get-go. Liston Colaco had a lively start to the match, sending a free-kick towards Chhetri, a chance that was fended off by the Bangladesh defence. Soon after, the attacking midfielder jinxed past a couple of defenders on the right, and pinged in his cross, but the defence again managed to get to the end of the cross. India centre back Chinglensana Singh came out with an early tackle on Md. Matin Miah, who had latched on to a ball by Md. Ibrahim. The decisive tackle helped the Blue Tigers defence avert the danger. Sunil Chhetri broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, as he smashed a cut-back by Udanta Singh from the right, and sent it crashing into the back of the Bangladesh net. This was the talismanic striker’s 76th goal in International Football. India will now have to play out of their skins in the next three group stage matches if they want to qualify to the next stage.