Nepal forward Dinesh Henjan scored a first-half brace to help the Reds against arch-rivals India.
Nepal have won the SAFF U-18 Championships 2017 with a 2-0 win over India. The Gorkhalis played a dominant game against a high-spirited India, who had already lost the chance to lift the trophy as Bangladesh had defeated Bhutan to kill their chances. Nepal, though, had everything to play for and they did exactly the same, winning the tournament in style.
Indian manager Floyd Pinto tweaked his side, replacing Naorem Roshan Singh with No. 14 Asish Rai. High-flying Nepal got the lead with the first attack of the game. Nepal got a free kick on the left wing, and a curling ball was met by Dinesh Henjan. India, then, got on a mission to salvage some pride back with incessant attacks, but sadly, the ball just won’t go in due to poor finishing and desperate measures.
In the 05th minute, former DSK winger Pranjal Bhumij tried to shoot from distance, only to be saved. Two minutes later, India created another move as Lalawmpuia made a brilliant through pass to an onrushing Asish Rai, who shot directly to the goalkeeper, only to earn a corner. The game, then, moved on the same routine with India trying to level from distance, but to no avail.
Attacks on the 9th, 15th and 16th minute saw India come close, but all over them were off the target. Nepal, in between, had a low free-kick from close to 25 yards saved by Aditya. In the 22nd minute, Zonunmawia tried to hit a volley from distance but skied it over. Things heated up in the 27th minute as Abhishek Halder got involved in a scuffle.
Three minutes later, Edmund got into a good position, turned on the run and took an attempt, only to be saved. In the 34th minute, Nepal created another move. A cross came in from the right, was met by a header which was saved by the right post of Aditya Partha. Nepal got their second in the 37th minute, courtesy a Dinesh Henjan strike, the player getting a brace.
In the 43rd minute, India came close to scoring again, with an Abhishek Halder free kick from close to the half-line being met by an Indian header, but was safely collected. The Indian players looked to have lost the concentration as Edmund tried a shot from the right wing when he would have tried to cross with two Indian forwards in the box waiting for a delivery. At the half-time whistle, Nepal led the game 2-0.
After the whistle, Abhishek Halder found Edmund with a fine through-ball, with the Indian No. 7 running onto it. The winger-forward was brought down, but the referee wasn’t interested. Four minutes later, Edmund made a fine darting run into the opposition box, with the attempt being thwarted by the goalkeeper.
India 0-2 Nepal: SAFF U-18 Championships
From the 60th to the 75th minute, India had five attempts, two of them on target. The distance form with the shot were taken was a little too much to make life difficult for the Nepal defensive quartet. In the 79th minute, India made another move down the right, with Pranjal at the thick of things. The No. 11 crossed well but was a little heavy for everyone. Late in the 91st minute, India got the ball into the opposition net but was offside.
Nepal, throughout the game, were more comfortable, and won the game, quite clearly. Nepal were equally dominant, but were content playing with the ball in their own half and create a few decent changes for themselves throughout the game. The team won the SAFF U-18 Championships 2017 and will be ready for the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers.