By Sruti Chakraborty,
AIFF Media Team
JAMSHEDPUR: India churned our yet another stellar performance in the ongoing SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship 2022 as they beat Nepal 5-1 in their third fixture of the tournament. India take on Bangladesh in their final fixture on March 25, 2022.
A splendid hattrick by Lynda Kom in the 23rd, 38th and 61st minutes, and a goal each by Shilky Devi in the 16th minute and Anita Kumari in the 55th minute led the Young Tigresses to a rather comfortable win in a show of dominance after Nepal had pulled one goal back in the second half.
Keeping their winning momentum alive after their last win against Bangladesh, the Indian girls heaped pressure on the opponents from the opening minute. In the 2nd minute itself, Lynda Kom tried to put in a header but missed by a whisker.
India’s first breakthrough came in the 16th minute when captain Shilky Devi delivered with an inch-perfect header from Nitu Linda’s pass.
Couple of minutes later, Lynda Kom, in the 23rd minute, doubled the lead with a glancing header.
After having a two goal lead, India's combination play threatened the Nepal backline.
In the 25th minute, Nitu Linda tried to shoot from the top-left corner but eventually missed it.
Another brilliant goal was scored by Lynda Kom in the 38th minute when she made a first-time volley to chip in the ball off a cross from the right by Shilky.
Minutes into the added time of the first half, coach Dennerby made the first substitution where Sunita Munda was replaced by Amisha Baxla. The half-time scoreline read 3-0 in favour of India.
The second half began on a similar note to the first with India dominating proceedings.
Another substitution was made in the 46th minute where Babina Devi was brought on in place of Nitu Linda.
Nepal looked to strike back but were struggling to create chances and keep possession in dangerous areas as the Indian team stood firm and forced them to go for long-range efforts, which were easily dealt with by Indian keeper Melody.
India made it four for the night in the 55th minute through Anita’s powerful long range shot from more than 25 yards out.
A change over came in the 55th minute as India custodian Melody Chanu was replaced by Adrija Sarkhel.
The hosts extended their lead with the fifth goal through Lynda Kom’s hat-trick in the 61st minute from Sunita’s low cross from the right.
Couple of more substitutions were made in the 70th minute in which Martina Thokchom and Rejiya Laishram were brought on in place of Anita Kumari and Shubhangi Singh.
In the 79th minute, Nepal pulled one goal back through Sadipa Bholan, who latched on to a loose ball and slotted it home.
The Indian girls scripted a dominating performance and at the end of time the full-time scoreline read 5-1 in India’s favour.
India increase their lead in pole position on the table with 9 points from 3 matches.
India: Melody Keisham (GK) (Adrija Sarkhel 55’), Naketa, Shilky Devi, Amisha Baxla (Sunita Munda 45+2’), Poonam, Lynda Kom, Anita Kumari (Rejiya 70’), Shubhangi Singh (Martina 70’), Nitu Linda (Babina Devi 46’), Varshika, Nisha