Nepali girls bag first victory at SAFF U16

Kathmandu, Mar. 5: Nepali young girls secured their first victory at the SAFF U16 Women’s Championship 2024 by defeating Bhutan 3-0 at ANFA Complex, Lalitpur on Monday. Three goals in the first half from Puja Giri, Bhumika Budathoki, and Gyanshu Dolma earned Nepal three points in the tournament. Despite equalling points with leaders India and Bangladesh, Nepal sits at the third position of the league table in goal difference. The win has revived Nepal’s hopes for the final, while Bhutan, with two defeats in a row, crashed out from the title contention. 

Puja put Nepal ahead in the 14th minute with her feeble shot from the penalty area easily kissing the back of the net. Captain Bhumika doubled the lead for Nepal after four minutes, leaving Bhutan’s custodian Kelzang Wangmo stunned again.  Nepali keeper Jharna Dumrakoti warded off the shot from Bhutan’s Chorten Zangmo in the 28th minute. Nepal added a third goal in the 31st minute, thanks to Gyanshu’s excellent free-kick from 25 yards that directly kissed the back of the net. 

Bhutan could have narrowed the gap in the 38th minute from the penalty received after a handball in the box. Tshering Lhamo took the penalty, but Nepali keeper Jharna rightly judged the kick and made a stretching dive on the left to keep a clean sheet. Nepal lost its opener against Bangladesh by 2-0 and will now take on India, who beat Bhutan 7-0, on Thursday.

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