India U-15 women's national team beat Nepal 2-1 in their semi-final clash of the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) U-15 Championship at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu, Bhutan, on Thursday.
This is India's second consecutive final appearance after they had gone down against Bangladesh in the 2017 edition of the competition that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Interestingly, the other finalist of the ongoing championship that will be on August 18 is going to be the winners of the second semi-final clash between hosts Bhutan and Bangladesh. Bhutan and Nepal had finished third and fourth the last time around.
In the first semi-final on Thursday, goals by Lynda Kom (31') and Kritina Devi (58') for India sandwitched Rajani Thokar's 37th minute strike for Nepal.
India's Avika Singh could have bagged the opener in the very first minute but saw her attempt miss the target which irked the Nepalese women to engage into counter-attacks that were dealt with on the opposite end.
With a little help from Shilky Devi's delivery in the box, Avika once again missed to break the deadlock in the 25th minute with her shot coming off the crossbar while Sunita Munda followed up by hitting the sidenetting.
Eventually, it was Lynda Kom who found the back of the net after getting on the end of Munda's cross to give her side the lead in the 31st minute.
There was another goal in the first half, when Indian goalkeeper Manisha's blunder allowed Thokar to score the equaliser in the 37th minute.
With an opportunity to bag a double on the evening, Kom was denied by the rival goalkeeper who got off her line effectively in the 55th minute. Although the winner was scored in a matter of minutes as Kritina lifted the ball above the Nepal custodian and into her net in the 58th minute.
India could have made it 3-1 in the 66th minute but Shilky's shot was saved by the opponent's goalkeeper. The move was initiated by Munda's burst through the Nepalese midfield.
Nepal tried to attack in numbers in the last few minutes but it was a little too late with the Indians already shutting shop by then.
India Women's lineup vs. Nepal: Manisha (GK), Joyoti Kumar, Kavita, Ritu Devi, Naorem Devi, Th Kritina Devi, Jhanvi Shetty, Avika Singh, Lynda Kom, Shilky Devi (C), Sunita Munda.