Nepal rout Bhutan, set up India title clashCoach Sunil Kumar Shrestha is gunning for the title having lost to the same team in 2017 final.
Nepal thumped Bhutan 6-0 in their last group match of the SAFF U-15 Championship to set up a title clash against hosts India in Kalyani, West Bengal, on Thursday.
Nepal, who lost 5-0 against the hosts in their opening match, won three matches of their round-robin league to ensure they advance to the final as runners-up to India. The top two teams made it to the final after the round-robin league played between five nations.
Nepal struck twice in the first half on Thursday before running riot with four other goals after the interval. Pradip Lamsal, who gave an early fifth-minute lead, and Nirajan Khatri struck twice each for Nepal. Khatri made it 2-0 in the ninth minute. But Nepal were made to wait until the second half to add to their goal tally. Lamsal netted his second goal three minutes after the restart. Asim Rai made it 4-0 in the 75th and Khatri scored his second goal 10 minutes later. Sugan Jimee completed the comprehensive victory scoring another in the stoppage time.
India defeated Bangladesh 4-0 in their match riding on a hat-trick from Himansu Jangra as they entered the championship match with 100 percent winning record. The final is on Saturday.
Nepal coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha said his team has come a long way since their 5-0 loss to India on August 21. "We had not settled as a team on the first day of the tournament against India. That was the reason for the heavy defeat," said Shrestha. "As our boys found it hard acclimatising themselves with the local condition, they performed well below par against India."
"But our boys found their feet in the next three matches winning all those games to secure a path to the final. Bangladesh are strong opponents and we beat them 4-1. We take it as a huge morale booster ahead of our re-match against India in the final. Our objective is to beat India at the own backyard and lift the trophy," said Shrestha who dubbed the hosts as the strongest team of the tournament. Nepal had lost to India 2-1 in 2017 final in Kathmandu.