Nepal’s late charge denies Blue Tigresses the victory
exciting second half show saw four goals, as India went into a two-goal lead, before Nepal made a late comeback to draw the match 2-2 in the first of two International Friendlies at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
- India 2 (Soumya Guguloth 54′, Indumathi Kathiresan 68′)
- drew with
- Nepal 2 (Sabitra Bhandari 90′, 90+2′)
Soumya Guguloth and Indumathi Kathiresan were the two goalscorers for India, while Sabitra Bhandari netted a-last minute penalty to pull one back for Nepal, before levelling the scores in injury time.
Nepal has been somewhat of a bogey side for India in their last couple of encounters in both senior and junior matches. While that may create some doubts in the minds of the supporters, the Blue Tigresses began the better of the two sides, with no less thanks to striker Bala Devi, who hovered across the Nepal back-line, constantly harrowing their defenders.
It was Bala, within the first five minutes, who found Sandhiya Ranganathan with a through ball; the latter was caught in two minds whether to cross or shoot, and ended up doing neither as her effort went past the upright.
Guguloth crept in unmarked from the far side and slapped the ball into the ground, as it bounced over the keeper’s head and went in.
It was a moment of pure joy and emotion for the crowd in Chennai in the 68th minute, when two local girls combined to score India’s second goal. Karthika Angamuthu dinked the ball over the Nepal defenders’ head, as it was chested down by Indumathi, who calmly slotted it home.
Bala Devi had done all but score in her return to international football in a gap mired by injuries and a pandemic and was warmly appreciated by the crowd as she was replaced by Renu with less than 15 minutes of regulation time left.
As the clock wore down, Nepal looked to put more balls into the Indian box, but the defensive pairing of Sweety Devi and Manisa Panna shepherded the flock.
Disaster struck when Nepal were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, which was converted by Bhandari, who levelled the scores two minutes later when she found some space inside the India box and slotted it past Panthoi to make it 2-2.