India clinches SAFF U-15 bronze with 1-0 win over Nepal

India narrowly beat Nepal 1-0 in the third place game of the SAFF U-15 Championship.

India was placed third in the SAFF U-15 Championship in Kathmandu.   -  @indianfootball (Twitter)

India registered a 1-0 win over host Nepal in a third-place playoff to return with a bronze medal from the SAFF U-15 Championship here on Saturday.

A first-half strike from Thlacheu Vanlalruatfela eventually proved to be enough.

The first half of the game was a rather quiet affair, with both teams not creating many chances and India entering the dressing room with a one-goal cushion.

The two teams got locked in a battle for possession and territory in the middle of the pitch, with the away side having an upper hand.

The goal came in the 18th minute through Vanlalruatfela, who scored after some nice build-up by his teammates.

After exchanging a few passes in the final third, the forward was played in on goal and found himself one-on-one against the opposition goalkeeper.

Pushed wide, Vanlalruatfela showed great composure and poise to turn and aim for goal. Without wasting any time, he slammed the ball past the keeper and into the roof of the net to give India the lead.

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Nepal looked to strike back but was struggling to create chances and keep possession in important areas as the Indian team stood firm and forced the host to go for long-range efforts, which were easily dealt with by India's keeper Santosh Singh.

India came close to a second goal in the 42nd minute but the Nepal goalkeeper dived sharply to his right to produce a fine save and divert the shot for a corner.

The second half saw Shuvendu Panda’s boys keep their lead intact. The Indian defence remained largely untroubled and kept the Nepal attackers at bay, with Santosh being called into action once and captain Jongte Lalpekhlua playing a dominant role in the middle of the park.

Nepal had a half-chance in the 72nd minute but the first-time shot by its forward from a long pass did not get the required connection. Nine minutes later, India's keeper pulled off a fine save as he denied the host from close range after a melee in the penalty area.

India’s best chance came in the 77th minute after a free header from a corner sailed narrowly wide.

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