KALYANI, August 31: Striker Sridarth Nongmeikapam scored a hat-trick as a dominant India thrashed Nepal 7-0 to lift the SAFF U-15 Championships title on Saturday.
While Sridarth (51st, 76th, 80th) scored thrice, Maheson Singh (15th), Amandeep (42nd), Sibajit Singh (45th) and Himanshu Jangra (65th) scored one apiece at the Kalyani Stadium.
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.
The Bibiano Fernandes coached side completely dominated the tournament, scoring 28 goals without conceding any in the five matches.
“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,” said Bibiano.
“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.”
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.
The Indians have been drawn in Group B and will face hosts Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.
The first half was an electric affair right from the start, with the first scoring chance being created in the second minute itself.
India were rewarded for their efforts as they took the lead through Maheson Singh Tongbram in the 15th minute. (PTI)