India booked their berth in the final of the U-17 three-nation football tournament after a 1-0 win over Thailand in the last round-robin game at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri on Tuesday.
India will face Sweden – against whom they lost 0-3 in the league game – in the final on Thursday.
The hosts found their goal in the 90+1 minute by Kritina Devi, courtesy a huge faux pas from rival goalkeeper Pawarisa Homyamyen. The mistake proved costly as her side was just four minutes away from making the final, but the goal ended its campaign.
Devi’s long ball was misjudged by the Thai goalkeeper, and the ball rolled into the goal.
The pendulum swung both ways in the match. India had an early chance. Sumati Kumari ran from the left wing and played a through ball to Sunita Munda, whose shot was blocked by the Thailand backline. Then, on a rebound, striker S Lynda Kom unleashed a header, but that was easily saved.
In the 13th minute, Sumati beat the defence from the left flank and entered the penalty box, creating an opportunity for B Mariyammal, but the mid-fielder failed to take a shot.
In the 19th minute, Thailand earned a free kick, but Kanchuda Phona’s shot was cleared by Purnima Kumari.
The hosts kept creating chances but failed to convert them. Another one came in the 31st minute. Sumati Kumari made a run towards the goal, and shot from the edge of the box, but it was safely collected. At the half-way mark, the two teams were locked at 0-0.
Thailand’s best chance came in the 50th minute when their striker Janista Jinantuya found herself in an open space and shot from the final third, but Indian custodian Manju Ganjhu came off the line to deny the visitors.