India blank Nepal to lift SAFF U-15 title

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India 7 (Maheson Singh 15′, Amandeep 42′, Sibajit 45′, Sridarth N 51′, 76′, 80′, Himanshu Jangra 65′) beat Nepal 0

Kalyani, West Bengal, August 31: A convincing India U-15 beat Nepal 7-0 to lift the SAFF U-15 2019 Championships at the Kalyani Stadium on Saturday. Striker Sridarth Nongmeikapam scored a hat-trick while Maheson Singh, Amandeep, Sibajit Singh and Himanshu Jangra scored one apiece. The winners led 3-0 at the interval.

In the process, the Bibiano Fernandes coached side scored 28 goals in without having conceded any in the 5 matches they played in the tournament.

The victory also meant that India are now the most successful team in the tournament’s history — winning the title for a record third time after previous wins in 2013 and 2017, both of which came in Nepal.

“I would like to thank each one of my support staff, the AIFF management at Football House, and SAI for their support,” Bibiano maintained at the post-match press conference.

“We are happy to be champions. We came here with an aim, and we have achieved it. This was a preparation for the AFC Qualifiers and it makes us confident about what we can achieve,” he added.

“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.”

Captain Anish Majumdar dedicated the victory to a “team effort.”

“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,” Mazumdar commented.

The next task up ahead for Bibiano Fernandes’ side is now the AFC U-16 Championships 2020 qualifiers, scheduled to take place from September 18-22, 2019. The Indians have been drawn in Group B and will face hosts Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.

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