NEW DELHI: The India U-18 ended their SAFF U-18 Championship 2017 journey with a 2-0 loss to Nepal at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu, Bhutan today (September 27, 2017). With this loss India ended their campaign in the 3rd place on the standings.
Going into the game, Nepal had to win to become the champions whereas India was out of the title race after Bangladesh defeated Bhutan 2-0 earlier in the day. The tournament regulation is based on Head to Head since India lost to Bangladesh in previous game and Nepal won against Bangladesh. If India had beaten Nepal, Bangladesh would have been the champions.
India suffered a setback early on when Nepal managed to score in the 3rd minute itself through Dinesh Henjan, who scored again in the 37th minute to complete the victory.
India was quick to respond with Princeton and Edmund troubling the defenders on either wing with their pace and guile. Lalawmpuia saw his effort being saved while Ashish Rai’s shot was miraculously kept out by the Nepal goalie. India kept on mounting the pressure as wave after wave of attacks ensued. It was all India as the quartet of Princeton, Edmund, Ashish and Lalawmpuia dominated the midfield but the goal remained elusive.
Slowly Nepal paved their way back as they tried to control the pace of the game. And it reflected soon after on the scoreline with a goal on the counter in the 37th minute to make it 2-0.
The second half began on the slower side as both teams were cautious in their approach at first. Nepal trying to protect its lead while India tried to avoid conceding more.
The first real opportunity after the break in the 56th minute when Patra was forced into pulling out save. But he seemed to have injured himself and was soon replaced by Mohd Haroon at the goal.
A move on the counter almost gave India its opener but Ashish Rai’s shot went millimetres over the bar. Edmund had a go himself when he dribbled past a couple of players but his shot too failed to find the net.
India tried hard as Nepal fell back to defend their lead. Ashish and Edmund combined together but as previously their effort too was intercepted by the defender.
A final flourish from the Indian forward line yielded a goal but as luck would have it was disallowed on being offside.