The Indian women’s team beat hosts Nepal 1-0 to register its third win on the trot and enter the final of the South Asian Games 2019 on Saturday. Bala Devi scored the only goal of the game in the 18th minute at the Pokhara Stadium as defending champions India claimed the top spot in the round-robin stage. India will again face Nepal in the summit clash on Monday.

The Indian team almost took the lead in the 10th minute through Ratanbala Devi but her shot from close range was off-target after some great work from Dangmei Grace down the right flank.

However, just eight minutes later, Bala put the Indian side in front with a headed goal — successfully converting a corner from Grace.

Almost immediately, the hosts threatened to score but Aditi Chauhan stood tall in the goal for India, making a fine save from a shot from inside the penalty area.

Bala Devi missed another chance in the 41st minute as her shot off a one-on-one situation was saved by the Nepal keeper. On the rebound, Sandhiya Ranganathan’s follow-up was wide of the mark as the Indian side headed into the breather with the 1-0 lead.

The second half saw Nepal push for the equaliser but the Indian defenders were up to the task and were determined to make it three clean sheets in a row. The home side looked to threaten from set-piece positions. However, the Indian backline led by Ashalata Devi remained rock-solid and closed out the game comfortably.

Saturday’s result meant that the Indian side continued their perfect run in the South Asian Games after registering 5-0 and 6-0 wins over Maldives and Sri Lanka respectively in their previous two games.