By Joseph Solomon,
AIFF Media Team
JABALPUR: Defending Champions Manipur breezed into the Finals of the National Football Champions for Women’s as they defeated Haryana 4-2 in the semi-finals of the Tournament today (January 13, 2016) in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
A hattrick by AIFF Player of the Year 2015 Bala Devi, after Bembem Devi put Manipur ahead when she converted from the spot kick, led Manipur to an easy win over opponents Haryana, who tried to mount a late comeback in the game.
In the early minutes of the first half itself, Bala Devi was handed with an opportunity to open the goal-scoring tally, after Prameshwori Devi put her onto goal. Bala however failed to apply the finishing touch as the attacking move went abegging of the dividends.
Committing bodies in attack, the Manipuri Team fostered opportunities at will. Grace released Bala onto goal, but the latter unable to out-manouvere the Haryana defence line, could only rattle the woodwork with her venomous shot.
Although Haryana were pinned in their own half, their best opportunity came in the 16th minute when Sanju steered clear of the Manipuri defence line, only for Panthoi to thwart her shot with ease.
The breakthrough for Manipur came in the 18th minute when the legendary Bembem Devi scored from the penalty kick to hand Manipur a 1-0 lead.
In the 30th minute, AIFF Player of the Year 2015, Bala Devi put Manipur in the driving seat as she slotted her opportunity home following a Bembem corner to give the defending Champions as 2-0 lead.
Even in the dying embers of the match Bala was awarded with an opportunity to make it 3-0, but she failed to make contact with an essayed in Grace cross. The half-time scoreline read 2-0.
Changing over and Haryana tried to jot down some attacking moves of their own, although the necessary penetration needed to score a goal went missing. And in the 55th minute, Manipur put the complexion of the game without doubt as Bala Devi netted her second of the match to give Manipur a 3-0 lead.
Shortly after, the AIFF Player of the Year 2015 completed her hattrick and gave Manipur a 4-0 lead.
Even in the dying embers of the match, Manipur pressed for a goal. In the 81st minute, Grace released Bala Devi onto goal with a well weighted through ball, the latter however un-leased a curler which went inches wide of the post.
Shortly after, Haryana minimized their deficit through Sanju, against the run of play, to make the score-line 4-1. In the 86th minute, Kavita Devi netted another for Haryana to make it 4-2.
The late comeback for Haryana however was short-lived as time remained their enemy and at the end of time the score-line read 4-2 in favour of Manipur.
Posted on : Wednesday January 13, 2016