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India and Nepal book spots in SAFF U-15 Championship 2019 finals

India U-15 national team star Himanshu Jangra celebreating one of his goals in the SAFF U-15 Championship 2019. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
India U-15 national team star Himanshu Jangra celebreating one of his goals in the SAFF U-15 Championship 2019. Photo courtesy: AIFF Media

India and Nepal secured the top two spots in the 2019 U-15 SAFF Championship at the Kalyani Stadium, on Thursday, August 29. India defeated defending champions Bangladesh 4-0, while Nepal trounced Bhutan 6-0 on the day.

Bangladesh, who had lost 1-4 to Nepal earlier in the tournament, needed to beat India by a two-goal margin, in order to clinch the second spot. However, the hosts came through in the end, with an emphatic result.

The match got off to a rather nervy start on a rain-drenched day in Kalyani. India Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes made as many as eight changes to his starting XI, from their last game against Sri Lanka. Captain and centre-back Anish Mazumder, midfielder Satvik Sharma, and striker Himanshu Jangra were the only ones to keep their position in the starting XI.

It was Bangladesh, who had the early initiative, but they failed to capitalise on their chances. Isac Zomuanpuia had the first real chance for India, as he capitalised on a stopping ball in wet conditions to break free of the Bangladesh defence. However, the weather Gods played spoilsport as his low shot also stopped suddenly in a puddle.

However, it was last day’s hattrick hero Himanshu Jangra, who opened the scoring yet again, as he masterfully back-headed a free-kick by Isac Zomuanpuia over the Bangladesh keeper and into the goal.

The weather Gods finally relented during the half-time break as the players headed into the tunnel. However, India had no such plans.

It was the combination of Himanshu and Isac that wreaked havoc in the Bangladesh defence yet again. Around the hour mark, Isac sent in a free-kick from the right wing, that was again headed by Himanshu into the goal.

The duo combined a third time just a few minutes later, as Himanshu nodded in a corner to score his hat-trick. Renedy Meetei scored the last few minutes to make the score 4-0 for India.

(AIFF Media)