Kathmandu, Sept 1: India U-15 football team trounced Nepal U-15 7-0 in the final match to clinch the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-15 Championship at Kalyani Stadium in Kolkata, India on Saturday.
Nepal failed to make any significant mark in the match though head coach Sunil Shrestha had earlier claimed to have assessed and analyzed Indian team since its first loss in the group match.
Nepal was humiliated by Sridarth Nongmeikapam leading the goal spree with a hat-trick in the commanding win. Maheson Singh Tongbram opened the account in the 15th minute for India, which was followed by Aman Deep and Sibajit Singh Leimapokpam in the 42nd and stoppage time of the first half from the flanks. In the second half, Sridarth registered his first goal in the 52nd minute followed by Himashu Jangra’s 65th minute strike putting India five ahead around an hour mark.
Sridarth further proved Indian players’ fitness standard registering a late brace with goals in 76th and 80th minutes to seal an astounding 7-0 win and his hat-trick in the final match.
India scored a total of 28 goals and didn’t concede a single goal in the competition throughout four league matches and the final. Nepal failed to score in the first and last game of the tournament despite scoring 11 in three matches played against the countries other than India in the league stage.
Nepal had suffered 5-0 defeat against the India in the first match of the five-team south Asian football tournament. India had defeated Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, 7-0, 4-0 and 5-0 respectively during the group matches. Nepal won 2-0 against Sri Lanka, 4-1 against
defending champion Bangladesh and 6-0 against Bhutan to reach the final.
Winning the tournament, India has now qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship 2020 qualifiers. It will take place from 18 to 22 September. India is drawn in Group B along with hosts Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.
This is Nepal’s third loss in SAFF U-15 championship finals. The victory also meant that India is now the most successful team in the tournament’s history– winning the title for a record third time with wins in 2013 and 2017, both held in Nepal.
The SAFF tournament was hosted by Indian Football Association in West Bengal.