Nepal | April 23, 2019

Nepal enter final, to face India

Mahesh Acharya

Anita Basnet (right) celebrates goal with teammate Sabitra Bhandari against Sri Lanka during their SAFF Championship semi-final match at Shahid Rangasala in Biratnagar on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Photo: Udipt Singh Chhetry

Biratnagar, March 20

Nepal and India today advanced to the final of the fifth SAFF Women’s Championship here at Shahid Rangashala.

The home side defeated Sri Lanka, while the four-time defending champions India crushed Bangladesh by identical 4-0 score line.

Nepal made it to the semi-finals as the Group A winners ahead of Bangladesh, while India advanced to the last four as after topping Group B champions, with Sri Lanka taking the second spot.

Nepal were not up to the mark in the first half but the home side bounced back after the break and scored three goals in 13 minutes to seal a comprehensive victory over Sri Lanka.

Anita Basnet was the star performer of the match as she scored one and assisted two goals after Poonam Jargha Magar opened the scoring in the 43rd minute. Basnet then stole the show with a dazzling display. She doubled the lead in the 73rd minute before setting goals for Sabitra Bhandari and Rekha Poudel.

The other semi-final match between India and Bangladesh was evenly paced in the beginning, but India took control after Dalima Chhibber found the back of the net in the 17th minute when Bangladesh goalkeeper Rupna Chakna failed to grab the ball from Sanju’s corner kick.

Indumathi Kathiresan then struck twice in the 22nd and 37th minutes, and substitute Manisha scored the fourth goal in injury time.

Nepal and India will now play against each other in Friday’s championship match.

India won the titles beating Nepal in the first three editions of the SAFF Championship, while Nepal lost to India in the semi-finals of the previous edition in 2016. The two teams have also met twice in the South Asian Games final, with India winning on both occasions.

Nepal have defeated India only once. The 3-1 win came in the league round match of Hero Gold Cup last month in Guwahati. Earlier, Nepal’s best result against India was the 1-1 draw in the SA Games in Shillong in 2016.


A version of this article appears in print on March 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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