Laos ends India's run in AFC U-16 Women's Championship qualifier

Indian girls were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as its hopes of making the second round of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers came to an end

India's U-16 girls ended the first round qualifiers with seven points from four matches.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India U-16 girls' hopes of making the second round of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers came to an end at the hands of Laos. The Indian girls were held to a 1-1 draw by eventual table-topper in their final fixture of the first round at the MFF Stadium in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia on Sunday.

Following the result, Laos with 10 points from four matches qualified for the second round of the qualification while India finished its campaign with seven points.

Aveka Singh (18') opened the scoring for India form a well-taken corner by Lynda Kom to give India an early lead but Pe (82’) struck late to steal an all-important point from the tie.

Coach Firmin D'Souza made as many as two changes in the starting line-up having brought in Pinku Devi and Kritina Devi in the places of Anju and Kiran, respectively. Laos, which needed only a point to secure its berth in the second round of qualification, was set to miss the services of its ace striker Phimpa, who was suspended.

India, having switched to a 4-4-2 formation from its usual 3-4-3, caught Laos off-guard in the third minute but Sunita was ruled offside.

After the 15-minute mark, India earned back-to-back corners and on the second corner, it broke the deadlock from a superb effort from Aveka.

Lynda took a long corner directed to Shilky but the skipper's side-tape landed closer to Aveka, who placed it nicely to find the top corner of the net.

In the added time of the first half, Sunita got an opportunity to double the lead but her finish was thwarted by the goalkeeper.

Following the changeover, Laos changed the gear but Indian defenders held their nerves to halt the opposition in its tracks.

Lynda probably had the easiest opportunity of the match in the 74th minute. The winger was left completely unmarked near the second post but she miscued the chance to gift Laos a lifeline.

Eight minutes from the end, Pe hit the target to dash India’s dream of making it to the second round of the qualifiers.

INDIA: Manisha (GK), Jyoti Kumari, Ritu Devi, Pinku Devi (Anju 85’), Priyangka Devi, Kritina Devi (Kiran 80'), Priyanka Sujeesh, Lynda Kom, Aveka Singh, Shilky Devi (C), Sunita Munda.

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