AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The Indian Women’s Senior National Team secured a place in the Finals of the 12th South Asian Games Women’s Football Championship as the ‘Women in Blue’ steamrolled Bangladesh 5-1 in a must win clash on February 13, 2016 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya.
Braces from Kamala and Bala Devi and a goal from Sanju led the Indian Women to a dominating win over their opponents, who were pinned in their own defending half for much of the match. India will clash swords against Nepal in the Finals of the Competition on February 15, 2016.
Talking exclusively to www.the-aiff.com, Head Coach of the Indian Women Sajid Dar said, “We should not get carried away, there is still a Final to be played and we have to remain focused on that”
“We took our chances against Sri Lanka and today against Bangladesh and the result is there for all to see. However there is still room for improvement”, Dar added.
Coming on the back of a goalless stalemate against Nepal, the Indian Women piled pressure on the Bangladeshi citadel in an attempt to take an early lead in the match. As early as the 2nd minute itself, the Indian Women advanced onto goal as Premi Devi released Kamala Devi onto goal. A last ditch tackle by the Bangladeshi defence line however, thwarted the Indian attack.
In the 4th minute, Sasmita Malik came close to giving India a solitary goal lead as her cheeky chip on goal flew inches over the bar. Waves of attacks from the opening minutes itself were bound to garner dividends, and in the 6th minute the Indian Women took a solitary goal lead when Kamala Devi blasted her opportunity home.
With the Indian Women showcasing fluid attacking Football, the Indian defence mopped up rare Bangladeshi counter attacks. In the 10th minute, Manisa Panna gazed a Bangladeshi through ball to perfection and cleared it away.
It wouldn’t be long for the Indian Women to pile more misery on their opponents as in the 13th minute, Bala Devi volleyed the ball home, following an uncanny Bangladeshi clearance to make it 2-0 in favour of India.
Eight minutes later, Bala Devi’s rasping header earned a top-draw save from the Bangladeshi custodian as the Indian Women, hungry for more goals, pinned Bangladesh in their own defending half.
A clever little flick by Bala Devi in the 37th minute released Kamala Devi onto goal. Kamala Devi showed sheer composure and skill as she comfortably slotted it past an onrushing Bangladeshi custodian to triple India’s lead.
Even in the dying embers of the first half, the ‘Women in Blue’ tried to score their fourth of the match, as opportunities came in plenty, however to no avail, as the half-time scoreline read 3-0 in favour of the Indian contingent.
The second half was no different in terms of the Indian domination and Bala Devi’s rocket-of-a-shot in the 46th minute was parried away by the Bangladeshi custodian.
The Indian midfield, meanwhile, turned on the style as they jotted down exquisite one touch passes to carve open the Bangladesh defence line.
Sasmita Malik, who proved to be a thorn for an innate Bangladeshi defence throughout the course of the match, cut-in from the right flank in the 53rd minute and released a curling shot which flew whiskers wide of the post.
In the 65th minute however, Bangladesh scored against the run of play to make it 3-1, as Indian custodian Aditi Chauhan failed to keep out a feeble attempt.
As the temperature dropped in the Stadium, the unanimous cheering from Indian fans rose, hollering the Women through with chants of “Come on India”. A sheer moment of brilliance by U19 Player Sanju in the 74th minute made it 4-1 for the Indian Women as Sanju latched onto a Bembem Devi through ball and outran her marking defender, before finally slotting the ball home with acute composure.
Shortly after, Bala Devi out manoeuvred the Bangladeshi defence and blasted her opportunity into the top corner to make the scoreline read 5-1 in favour of India. In the 80th minute, Bala Devi had an opportunity to complete her hattrick, but the lanky forward failed to put her laces into the shot as Bangladesh survived another Indian attack.
Nine minutes later, Sasmita Malik’s thunderous freekick from the edge of the 18 yard box rattled the cross bar. With the result sealed, the ‘Women in Blue’ kept possession and at the end of full-time the scoreline read 5-1.
India starting XI against Bangladesh: Aditi Chauhan (GK); Umapati Devi, Ashalata Devi (53’ – Radharani Devi), Manisa Panna, Supriya Routray; Premi Devi, Bembem Devi (C) (75’ – Margaret Devi), Sasmita Malik, Prameshwori Devi (54’ – Sanju), Bala Devi, Kamala Devi.
Posted on : Saturday February 13, 2016