India advanced to the final of the SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship after defeating Nepal 1-0 in its last group stage match in Dhaka on Sunday.
Priyanka Devi scored the winner in the 66th minute.
India head coach Alex Ambrose made two changes to his starting XI from its last game against Bangladesh, with Nitu Linda and Lynda Kom coming in place of Kritina Devi and Santosh, respectively.
India took the early initiative but failed to capitalise on its chances. Captain Shilky Devi floated a ball from the left in the 19th minute, passed it to Sumati who missed an open chance to find the back of the net.
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India’s combination play threatened the Nepal back line from the start. Nepal struggled to create chances and keep possession.
In the 36th minute, Amisha Baxla went for a first-time shot but failed to connect it properly, as the ball went over the bar.
The best opportunity for India came in the 42nd minute when Priyangka Devi shot off a pass from Shilky Devi but was off target.
Ten minutes into the second half, Mariyammal’s corner kick fell straight to Lynda Kom in the six-yard box, but she failed to connect with the ball properly.
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Coach Ambrose made three changes in the 61st minute as Santosh, Apurna Narzary and Santhiya replaced Nitu Linda, Lynda Kom and Amisha Baxla respectively.
The goal for India finally came on the 66th minute, when Sumati Kumari entered the Nepal box from the left and cut it back for Priyanka, whose shot brushed off a defender before nestling into the back of the net.
Another great chance for India came when Sumati Kumari was played behind the Nepal defence, and she tried to chip the opposition keeper on the bounce, but her effort went over the crossbar.
The final between host Bangladesh and India will be played on Wednesday.