India crashed out of the SAFF Women’s Championship after a 0-1 loss to hosts Nepal in the semi-final at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu on Friday. This is the first time that the Indian football team has been eliminated in the semi-final stage of the tournament. Rashmi Kumari Ghising scored the only goal of the game as the hosts won on a mud-soaked pitch.
The home side started on the front foot, using the left flank on several strikes in the opening exchanges. However, Indian defenders Sweety Devi and Manisa Panna remained alert to the threat and foiled the hosts’ attacks.
Renu had her first real chance of the match in the 12th minute, when she landed in the opposition box, but Nepal’s captain and goalkeeper Anjila Subba got away from her line to clear it.
As the match approached the half-hour mark, Sandhya Ranganathan down the right wing became more active. He plans an attack on the 22nd, handing it over to Ratanbala Devi, who then hands it to Priyangka Devi, who is eventually evicted inside the box.
Later, Sandhya again sent a cross for Renu, who tried to swoop her to the far post, but her attempt was saved. This proved to be Renu’s last meaningful contribution, as India head coach Suren Chhetri soon dropped her, bringing Soumya Guguloth onto the pitch with minutes remaining for the half-time whistle.
However, it was Nepal who took the lead in injury time of the first half, when Preeti Rai sent a cross to Rashmi Ghising’s legs, and later turned and fired into the bottom corner.
A goal up, Nepal came out with much enthusiasm in the second half, as Anita Basnet and Rashmi Ghising began planning attacks for the home side, prompting Suren Chhetri to make an aggressive change, midfielder Priyangka Devi He was replaced by striker Aparna Narzari.
Aparna soon got into the thick of things as she went through the threads of the likes of Dangmei Grace and Saumya Guguloth. However, Nepal’s defense depended on the task.
Looking to exit the semifinals, India executed some desperate strikes, giving them a few free kicks in the opposition half, with around 20 minutes of regulation time left.
Ashalata Devi took charge of the set-piece, looking to feed them through her teammates, but the Nepal defense stood firm.
Soumya had one last chance for India, with only a few minutes left in the clock, as she was played from behind the defence by Aparna. The former went into the box but the ball was taken off her feet by an aggressive defender before she could shoot.
Topics mentioned in this article