Nepal hoping to end India jinx

Kathmandu, January 1

Nepal will play against hosts India in the semi-final match of the fourth SAFF Women’s Championship at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Monday.

This is the first occasion Nepal and India are meeting in last four clash. They have played in the final of all three previous editions with India winning on all occasions. Their meeting in the semi-finals was confirmed after Nepal topped Group A and three-time champions India finished as Group B runners-up. Group A runners-up Maldives will play against Group B winners Bangladesh in second semi-final match of the day.

In three previous meetings, India defeated Nepal 1-0 in the final match in Bangladesh in 2010, recorded a 3-1 victory in the 2012 final in Sri Lanka and registered a 6-0 win in the last edition’s final in Pakistan two years later.

Besides the championship, India have also dominated Nepal in the South Asian Games. During the 11th edition held in Bangladesh in 2010, India beat Nepal 5-0 and registered a 3-1 win in the final. Similarly, Nepal played a goalless draw in the league match before facing a 4-0 defeat in the final of the 12th SA Games in Shillong.

In the current competition, Nepal defeated Bhutan 8-0, recorded a 9-0 win against the Maldives and beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the group stage. Nepal coach Kumar Thapa was optimistic that his side would produce a victory against the hosts. “We have been consistent with our performance in the championship and I am hopeful that the girls would deliver similar show against India. We have put our plans to perfection and Monday is going to be the same,” said Thapa.

Thapa added that his side would focus on defensive strategy and also work accordingly to get winning result. “Bangladesh showed that the Indian attack could be stopped with defensive tactics,” Thapa said.

In Group B, India defeated Afghanistan 5-1 but settled for a goalless draw against Bangladesh in the three-way pool. Meanwhile, Indian coach Sajid Dar said his strategy would be to stop Nepal’s striker SabitraBhandari. “Nepal are one of the strong teams and always give us a good fight. We will work on the mistakes that we committed in previous matches and try to stop Bhandari,” said Dar. Bhandari scored 10 goals in the first two matches, five each against Bhutan and the Maldives.