Colombo, Sep 9 (IANS) The India U-17 national team was handed a 1-3 defeat by Nepal in their second match of the SAFF U-17 Championship at the Racecourse International Stadium, here on Friday.
Danny Meitei put India in the lead in the 25th minute. But Nepal crawled back into the game with Saroj Darlami equalising before half-time. Second-half goals by Unesh Budathoki (49′), and Subash Bam (68′) sealed the issue for Nepal in the second half.
In what looked like a slow start to the game, Boby Singh and Niraj Karki got a chance each in the early exchanges for India and Nepal respectively, but both failed to convert. Minutes later, Danny Meitei made the best of an opportunity, as he latched on to a stray ball inside the Nepal penalty box and slotted it home to give India the lead.
India grew in confidence after taking the lead, making more forays into the opposition area. However, seconds before the half-time whistle, Saroj Darlami scored an absolute scorcher from long range to put things back on level terms. Spotting the India goalkeeper Sahil slightly off this line, Saroj struck one on the volley as it dipped into the top corner.
Changing over, Nepal came out with a lot of impetus in the second half. A fortunate rebound fell at the feet of Budathoki, who duly slotted it into the net to hand Nepal the lead in the 49th minute.
Winger Subash Bam struck the final nail when he was played through behind the Indian defence via an aerial through ball, which he duly brought down, and chipped past an on-rushing Sahil under the Indian bar.
India looked to make a number of forays into the Nepal area from then on, but the opposition defenders held firm.
India U-17: Sahil (GK), Vanlalpeka Guite, Ricky Meetei, Manjot Singh Dhami, Balkaran Singh (Malemn’amba Sing’ 19′, Aman 87′), Gurnaj Singh Grewal, Korou Singh ‘Lalpekhlua 72′), Thanglalsoun Gangte, Boby Singh (Fa’zan Waheed 72′), Surajkumar Singh, Danny Meetei (Ng’rin Shaiza 72’)