South Asian Games: Bala Devi's Sole Goal Helps India Beat Hosts Nepal 1-0
South Asian Games 2019: India defeated Nepal 1-0 in their final round robin game and will face the same opponents in the final.
Bala Devi's photo from India's win over Maldives. (Photo Credit: @ngbala_10)
Pokhara: Bala Devi scored the only goal of the match as the Indian women's football team defeated hosts Nepal 1-0 to pick up its third win on the trot in the ongoing South Asian Games (SAG) 2019. With the win on Saturday at the Pokhara Stadium, India claimed the top spot in the round-robin stage.
The action was played in front of a buoyant partisan home crowd in Pokhara but it was India who got the better of the early exchanges and almost took the lead in the 10th minute. After some excellent work from Dangmei Grance on the right flank, Ratanbala Devi's shot from close range went off target.
However, just eight minutes later, Bala (18') put India in front as she headed in a fabulous corner kick from Grace.
Almost immediately, the hosts threatened to score but Aditi Chauhan stood tall in goal for India, making a fine save from a shot from inside the penalty area.
Bala almost made it two for her side in the 41st minute but her shot in a one-on-one situation was saved by the Nepal keeper. On the rebound, Sandhiya Ranganathan shot wide of the mark as the Indian side headed into the breather with a slender lead.
The second half saw Nepal push for the all-important equaliser but the Indian defenders were up to the task. The home side looked to threaten from set-piece situation but the Indian backline, led by Ashalata Devi, remained rock solid and closed out the game comfortably.
The result means that India, who are the defending champions, continue their perfect run in SAG 2019 after registering 5-0 and 6-0 wins over Maldives and Sri Lanka, respectively in the last two games.
The gold medal match will be played between India and Nepal at the same venue on Monday at 12:45 PM IST.
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