ANI Photo | SAFF U-16 Championship: India secures semifinal spot, wins 1-0 against Nepal

Team India. (Photo- AIFF)

Thimpu [Bhutan], September 7 (ANI): India secured the top spot in Group A of the SAFF U-16 Championship to seal their berth in the semi-finals, defeating Nepal 1-0 at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu, Bhutan, on Wednesday.
The Blue Colts produced a dominant performance against Nepal and were denied by the woodwork on four occasions, as they secured the victory by just one goal, which was scored by Mohammed Arbash in the first half, as per a press release from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). 
India, who needed just a draw to secure the top spot in Group A, made a cautious start. While Nepal enjoyed slightly longer bouts of possession in the middle of the park, the Blue Colts looked to penetrate, largely through Vishal Yadav on the right wing.
Usham Singh, India’s goalscorer in the previous match against Bangladesh, had the perfect opportunity to put his side in the lead within the first 15 minutes when he ran onto a cross from the right inside the Nepal penalty box, but he sent his effort into the woodwork.
Nepal captain, Subash Bam was a constant menace down the left, and Usham Singh had to put in a double shift to keep him in check.
India finally had the breakthrough three minutes after the half-hour mark, when Yadav scampered in from the right and sent a cut-back to Md Arbash, who smashed it home at the near post. 
The 2023 SAFF Championship started in Bhutan from September 2 onwards and will go on till September 10 onwards. 
India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are placed in Group A while Bhutan, Maldives and Pakistan are placed in Group B. 
India will take on Maldives in the first semifinal while Pakistan will take on Bangladesh in the second semifinal.

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