India did the unthinkable when they beat higher-ranked Thailand 1-0 in the last match of their AFC U-19 Women's Championship Qualifier.
Needing a win to qualify for the next round, India rode on the 36th-minute strike by Hauhnar Grace Lalrampari to stun the hosts, ranked 28th in the world, in Chonburi.
The Indian team, coached by Alex Ambrose, was celebrating its sensational win but soon found out they had not qualified for the next round.
India pumped in 18 goals against Pakistan in their opening match of Group B but lost 0-2 to Nepal last week. This defeat hurt India's chances of qualification and eventually proved to be the U-19 team's undoing in the competition.
Only the top team qualifies for the second round of the qualifiers and India were unfortunately eliminated after finishing third.
How did India finish third?
Well, Thailand, Nepal and India all accumulated six points from their three matches in Group B.
If there's a three-way tie for the top spot, the Goal Difference of the matches played between the three teams are taken into account. Thailand beat Nepal 3-0, Nepal defeated India 2-0 and India ended up beating Thailand 1-0, meaning India and Nepal have the same goal difference.
If the goal difference is the same, as was the case with India and Nepal, the head-to-head result between the two sides is factored in.
Since India lost 0-2 to Nepal, they were pushed down to third. Thailand finished as the group winners (because of their head-to-head record over Nepal) and since they are the hosts of the next round of the competition, Nepal qualified from Group B as the second-best team.
Even though India have failed to make the next the round, the team has won hearts all over the country for their sensational display against Thailand.
Luck did not favour India this time but the team's performance in the competition bodes well for the future.
“It was a great victory for us. We all had to really fight for this win. Thailand are a very good team, arguably the best in our group,” Ambrose told The AIFF after the game.
“After the loss against Nepal, the girls had to really pick themselves. They did it in style churning out this performance against a team of Thailand’s calibre. I can say that I am proud of what we have achieved together.”