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India defeat Nepal 7-0, win SAFF U-15 2019 Championship


ANI Football
India defeated Nepal 7-0 on Saturday to lift the SAFF U-15 2019 Championships here at the Kalyani Stadium.
Striker Sridarth Nongmeikapam scored a hat-trick for the side while Maheson Singh, Amandeep, Sibajit Singh and Himanshu Jangra scored one goal each.
"This wouldn't have been possible without us sticking together as a team. I need to thank the Coach and all our staff for their guidance, and believing in us," skipper Anish Mazumdar said after the match.
The first half was an electric affair right from the very start. The side took the lead through Maheson Singh Tongbram in the 15th minute.
The midfielder ran into open space on the right flank and made the most of it with an excellent shot that sailed over the head of Nepal goalkeeper Manoj Dahal and nestled into the bottom corner of the goal.
India recorded two quick strikes towards the end of the first half to head into the dressing room with a three-goal advantage.
The team was quick to add to its lead in the second half, with Sridarth adding his name to the scoresheet in the 51st minute. Taison fired in a powerful shot from distance that was not collected by the Nepal keeper and Sridarth was on hand to follow up and tap the ball home.
Himanshu Jangra, who scored a hat-trick each in India's two previous matched against Bhutan and Bangladesh, came off the bench at half-time and scored his team's fifth goal of the match.
Five goals soon became six with 15 minutes left to play as Sridarth added his second of the match.
In the 80th minute, Sridarth completed his hat-trick with India's seventh and last goal of the game as he latched on to a fine, low cross from Himanshu and placed it past the goalkeeper.
Bibiano Fernandes coached side managed to score 28 goals in the whole tournament and they did not concede any goal in the competition.
"I would like to thank each one of my support staff, the AIFF management at Football House, and SAI for their support. We are happy to be champions. We came here with an aim, and we have achieved it. T," All India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Fernandes as saying.
"This was a preparation for the AFC qualifiers and it makes us confident about what we can achieve. I am extremely happy the manner boys responded. They kept up the momentum and the intensity since the first match. I am extremely proud of them," he added.
Bibiano Fernandes' side will next take part in the AFC U-16 Championships 2020 qualifiers, scheduled to take place from September 18-22, 2019.
The team has been drawn in Group B and will face hosts Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.

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First Published: Aug 31 2019 | 8:26 PM IST

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