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Senior Women's National Football Championship: Manipur show dominant display against Jharkhand

Published at :May 2, 2024 at 10:03 PM
Modified at :May 2, 2024 at 10:03 PM
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Haryana were held to a draw in their opener

Record champions Manipur cruised to a 7-0 victory over Jharkhand in their opening Group B game of the 28th Senior Women’s National Football Championship for Rajmata Jijabai Trophy Final Round at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

Manipur took pole position in Group B as the other two group matches of the day – Maharashtra versus Sikkim, and Odisha versus Haryana – ended in 1-1 draws.

India international Dangmei Grace starred for 21-time champions Manipur, registering two goals and two assists. It was her corner which was side-footed in by an unmarked Sibani Devi for the opening goal in the 19th minute. Grace doubled the lead in the 36th minute as she capitalised on a loose ball, with Jharkhand goalkeeper Jyotsna Bara out of her line, and placed a first-time shot into the empty net.

Manipur added three goals in the space of four minutes right before half-time, taking the result beyond any doubt. First, Grace’s low cross from the right was slammed into the roof of the net by Sibani. Then skipper Bala Devi sent Grace through on goal and she picked out the far corner with her left foot. In the next minute, Bala got her second assist as she set up Roja Devi for an easy one-on-one finish.

Manipur added two more in the second half via substitutes Arina Devi and Daya Devi. Arina tapped a rebound into the empty net in the 73rd minute before Daya found the bottom corner in the 85th minute to wrap up the scoring.

In the evening fixture at the Kishore Bharati Stadium, Maharashtra led for the majority of the game but ended up settling for a 1-1 draw against Sikkim. Aishwarya Jagtap handed Maharashtra the lead in the 21st minute as she powered into the box and neatly dinked the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper Gyurme Dolmo Tamang. Sikkim’s equaliser was also a fine goal, a stunning finish from Muskan Subba in the 81st minute. Receiving the ball around 20 yards from the goal, she rifled a low shot past Payal Basude, which hit the inside of the post and went in.

The meeting of last year’s NFC runners-up Haryana and National Games champions Odisha ended in a 1-1 draw in the morning fixture at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence. Led by IWL title-winning head coach Crispin Chettri, Odisha scored first through Deepa Nayak in the 65th minute. But Haryana responded swiftly, equalising via Pooja’s strike four minutes later to settle for a point in the tournament opener.

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