After losing the battle for the top spot in Group A, India will take on hosts Nepal in the semi-final of the 2022 SAFF Women’s Championship. Bangladesh will face Bhutan in the other semi-final tie.
Despite losing to Bangladesh in their last game, India still start against Nepal as favourites to qualify for the final.
Nepal have recorded two clean sheets in their previous two games and scored 10 goals. Sabrita Bhandari, Anita Basnet and Deki Lhazom have scored two goals each, whereas Namgyel Dema, Tshering Lhaden and Galey Wangmo have scored one each. Arguably, the hosts are yet to face stiff competition in the tournament, and their unbeaten record in the SAFF Women’s Championship will be put to a proper test against the Blue Tigresses on Friday.
Nepal have competed against India five times in the previous editions of the tournament: four times in a final and once in a semi-final. Unfortunately, the results on all occasions have gone against them. It’s an opportunity for them to shine in front of their home crowd and regain dominance in south Asia.
India, on the other hand, suffered a bit of a setback against Bangladesh. Their centre-backs were found out of position, constantly falling prey to counter-attacks. The Indian midfield is also guilty of having given away possession too cheaply on the day; their opponents simply looked hungrier for the win.
India have the skill and talent to defend the title, but their character will be put to test as they try to come back strong in the semis against a Nepal team with home crowd support. Anju Tamang, who had a fantastic game against Maldives in the group stage, will need to step up again and take the responsibility of feeding the forward line. Dangmei Grace and Soumya Guguloth have been impressive as well and will need to be on their very best.
Match: India vs Nepal
Venue: Dasharath Rangasala Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: 16 September 2022
Time: 05:30 PM IST
Where to watch: Elevensports.com
Probable playing XIs
Nepal: Anjila Subba (GK), Punam Magar, Amrita Jaishi, Hira Bhujel, Rekha Poudel, Rashmi Ghising, Anita Basnet, Gita Rana, Anita KC, Saru Limbu, Dipa Shahi
India: Aditi Chouhan (GK), Ashalata Devi, Manisha Panna, Priyangka Devi, Ratanbala Devi Nongmeithem, Anju Tamang, Sandhiya Ranaganathan, Grace Dangmei, Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu, Renu, Juli Kishan
Players to watch out for
Nepal: Sabrita Bhandari, Anita Basnet, Namgyel Dema
India: Grace Dangmei, Anju Tamang, Soumya Guguloth