By Sruti Chakraborty,
AIFF Media Team
JAMSHEDPUR: The India U-18 girls continued their winning run with a 1-0 win over Bangladesh in their second fixture in the ongoing SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship 2022 in Jamshedpur. Following the result, India are firmly seated at the top of the table, having collected six points from two matches thanks to Nitu Linda's well-taken shot in the 63rd minute.
Coach Thomas Dennerby made only one change in the starting line-up from the last game, having brought in Kajal in place of Naketa.
The game kicked-off at a slow pace but the hosts came very close to opening the scoring in the 9th minute when Astam played a low ball into the six-yard box hoping for Lynda Kom to fill in the spaces, but it was eventually cleared.
In the 21st minute the second chance for India came when Anita Kumari tried a low shot which went wide. A couple of minutes later, Bangladesh served a reminder of danger to the hosts as Eity Khatun’s first time shot near the goalline was blocked by Ritu Devi.
At the half-hour mark, Anita had another go from the left which was gathered by the Bangladesh custodian Rupna. In the 39th minute, Priyanka Sujeesh launched another effort on goal to break the deadlock but Rupna was equal to it.
Both teams went to the dressing room locked at 0-0 after the first 45 minutes.
Switching sides, the hosts changed their strategy and tried to build attacks from both flanks. Coach Dennerby introduced Nitu and Shubhangi in place of Martina and Sujeesh.
Back to back efforts went in vain when first Amisha in the 49th minute tried to shoot but was denied by the keeper. Rupna made no mistake to save the other one when Lynda Kom tried to turn in the rebound.
In the 51st minute, Sapna Rani curled in a dangerous corner into the Indian box but Indian goalie Melody made no mistake to punch it away. Another chance came India’s way when Astam had sent in a cross from the left which Shilky received and went for a back volley, but missed the target.
Another substitution took place in the 61st minute as Sunita Munda was replaced by Anita Kumari.
India finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute by Nitu Linda who tapped into an open net through Ritu Devi’s pass from the right wing which was spilled by Bangladesh goalkeeper Rupna.
The final substitution was made in the 76th minute where Rejiya and Apurna were brought in place of Amisha and Lynda Kom respectively.
The game slowed down considerably during the final minutes of the game, but India continued to show their dominance. In the additional time, Nitu Linda tried her luck once again to double the score but her shot was crashed onto the woodwork which made the final scoreline 1-0 in favour of the hosts.
India are scheduled to take on Nepal in their next match on March 21, 2022.
India: Melody Keisham (GK), Ritu Devi, Shilky Devi, Astam Oraon, Martina Thokchom (Nitu Linda 46’), Amisha Baxla (Rejiya 76’), Lynda Kom (Apurna 76’), Priyanka Sujeesh (Shubhangi 46), Anita Kumari (Sunita Munda 61’), Purnima Kumari, Kajal