India U-15 women's team enters SAFF final

Lynda Kom scored in the 31st minute and then Kritina Devi's 58th minute goal sealed a hard-fought win in the semis.

The India U-15 Women's team ahead of its semifinal clash against Nepal.   -  AIFF

India's U-15 women's team entered the final of SAFF U-15 Championship after beating Nepal 2-1 in the last-four clash at the Changlimithang Stadium here on Thursday.

Lynda Kom scored in the 31st minute and then Kritina Devi's 58th minute goal sealed a hard-fought win for India. A determined Nepal managed to score the equaliser in the 37th minute through Rajani Thokar.

India had a chance to take the lead in the first minute of the match but Avika Singh’s shot crept inches past the goal. Nepal recovered after the nervy start and the counter attacks were not enough to test the Indian defence.

In the 25th minute, Avika Singh had another opportunity to give India the lead but this time her shot rattled the bar after Shilky Devi's brilliant assist. A minute later, India raised the ante with Sunita Munda's strike hitting the side netting.

The breakthrough came in the 31st minute when Lynda slotted the ball home inside the box by a cross from Sunita Munda.

However, in the 37th minute, Nepal equalised when goalkeeper Manish made a howler of a routine save and Rajani latched on to find the net for the opponents.

Both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging, despite India dominating possession and chances created, as the half-time scoreline read 1-1.

In the 55th minute, Lynda was once again found a scoring opportunity but this time, an onrushing custodian saved her shot. Three minutes later, Kritina Devi chipped the Nepalese custodian from distance and found the back of the net to give India 2-1 lead.

Although Nepal attacked with numbers in the dying minutes of the match, but India fortified its defence. The full-time scoreline read 2-1 with India defeating Nepal in the semifinal.

India will take on host Bhutan or Bangladesh in the SAFF U-15 Championship finals on August 18.