India were held to a 1-1 draw by Bangladesh in their penultimate group stage match of the the SAFF U-15 Women’s Championship in Thimphu on Sunday.

Amisha Baxla scored in the 24th minute to put India ahead. However, the lead was short-lived as Sapna Rani equalised for Bangladesh two minutes later.

After Sunday’s draw, both India and Bangladesh ended on seven points in the group stage. However, India finished on top of the group by virtue of better goal difference. The two sides face each other again in the final on Tuesday.

India dominated possession from the start and looked to attack the Bangladesh goal, with Astam Oraon pulling the strings from the middle of the park. India finally broke the deadlock as Astam found an unmarked Baxla through a cross from the left, and the latter finished it past the Bangladesh keeper.

A couple of minutes later Bangladesh forward Sapna latched on to a loose ball and chipped it over India custodian Adrija Sarkhel to restore parity. India kept probing at the Bangladesh defence, and Sai Sankhe, who had scored a hat-trick in the second match against Bhutan, had the best chance of the game for her side. She was played through via an aerial ball from fullback Jyoti Kumari, and had only the keeper to beat. However, her attempted chip went whiskers away from the far post.

India slowly started to claw their way back in the game and second half substitute Kiran looked lively down the left flank. She created the best chance of the half as she ran down the left, and cut it back for Baxla, but the latter’s shot was straight to the keeper.

Lynda had another chance from a goal-mouth scramble with a couple of minutes of regulation time left, but her reflex shot flew over the crossbar.