India U-18 girls emerged champions of the SAFF U-18 women’s championship at the JRD TATA sports complex in Jamshedpur on March 25. India emerged as champions enjoying a better goal difference, +11 in comparison to +3 from Bangladesh.
The valuable player of the tournament and the highest goal scorer was Lynda Kom who scored 5 goals in total.
In the last match of the championship, Bangladesh scraped past India by a solitary goal. India, however, had seized the initiative early as in the 5th minute. Shubhangi managed to find some space in the opposition box and went for a shot which went directly to Bangladesh custodian Rupna.
India were unlucky to be denied by the post in the 40th minute when Nitu, all in the clear, placed it past Rupna only to see the ball bouncing off the post, and straight into Rupna’s hands – as both teams headed to the interval locked goalless.
Changing over, head coach Thomas Dennerby brought in Poonam in place of Shubhangi in the 46th minute.
In the 60th minute, the captain Shilky Devi went for a shot from a long range but an agile Rupna was not to be beaten. A couple of substitutions followed as Martina and Sunita were replaced by Naketa, and Amisha respectively.
With time running out for Bangladesh, they went all out in the attack, and Aklima Khatun put them into the lead in the 74th minute with a shot from outside the box.