Manipur clinches Senior Women's National Football Championship title
The Manipur defenders showed a blend of grit and composure to finally make an exit with a thumping win and clinching their second consecutive Senior Women’s NFC Championship title.
Defending champions Manipur scripted a comfortable victory over red-hot Railways 1-0 in the final of the 25th Senior Women’s National Football Championship at Arunachal Pradesh’s CHF ground.
The first half began on a competitive note, with neither side being able to get a lead in the initial stages of the match. Railways’ defence struggled to remain in control of the game as Bala Devi and Kamala of Manipur steered their side to a rather lopsided victory. The first clear-cut chance came through Daya Devi, who scored a total of seven goals in the last two matches, but Railways keeper Swarnamayee Samal came up with a fine save.
The Railways players tried to consolidate the team, and attack right from the first minute of the second half, but not without any prolific result. Manipur had better possession, more shots on target, and more successful passes - only in the 67th minute, Manipur’s campaign sprung to life when Bala Devi delivered a right-footer towards a helpless Samal, who clearly had no answer to prevent the goal.
A gritty Bala looked to score again three minutes later only to be blocked by Manisha as the Manipur side kept on holding their narrow lead. The Railways looked to forge aggression in the closing stages of the match but clearly struggled to be more clinical with their finishing. The Manipur defenders showed a blend of grit and composure to finally make an exit with a thumping win and clinch their second consecutive Senior Women’s NFC Championship title.
The Railways registered a stellar win over Odisha 3-1 in the first semi-final of the tournament. In the second semifinal, Manipur continued its brilliant campaign with a mighty 5-0 win over Tamil Nadu to progress into the final and face arch-rival Railways. While Daya Devi scored a phenomenal hat-trick, Bala Devi and Irom Devi scored one each to give the team a commanding lead.