Biratnagar (Nepal), March 20
Four-time defending champions India stormed into the final of the SAFF Women’s Championship with a 4-0 win over Bangladesh here on Wednesday.
Dalima Chhibber opened the scoring for India and Indumathi Kathiresan added a brace to the tally before Manisha struck in the injury time to complete the rout.
The match began on a fast clip and Bangladesh looked to make the most of their physical prowess and pressed the Indian defenders with rigorous pace.
Indian centre-backs Ashalata and Sweety Devi, however, stood tall and denied the opposition any sniff at the goal. After a tense start, the Indians found a foothold and in the 18th minute, Sanju curled in an excellent delivery from the left that fell to Dalima inside the box and the right-back made no mistake in putting the ball into the Bangladesh goal.
The tempo of the match went up a notch after the opener. Bangladesh centre-back Mosammat Khatun skied an effort from close range while Sanju was denied by the rival custodian in a one-on-one situation.
India scored their second goal in the 23rd minute through midfielder Indumathi, who showed excellent composure to slot the ball past the Bangladesh keeper after being played through with a delightful pass from Sanju.
India, who scored 11 goals in their first two matches of the tournament, then showed their prowess with a counter-attack in the 37th minute to add to their tally. Dalima played the ball out from the right after an attack from Bangladesh and in no time Sanju and Sandhiya combined well to put through Indumathi once again, who found the net with a well-placed finish. After the change of ends, India came out stronger and controlled most of the possession. Sanju and Dangmei Grace were a handful for the Bangladesh defence down the flanks. Dangmei came close to scoring at the hour mark but saw her shot sail past the goal.
In the dying minutes of the game, Manisha pounced on a loose ball inside the box, rounded the Bangladesh keeper and scored her first goal of the tournament to make it 4-0 for India.
India will now take on hosts Nepal in the summit clash on Friday. — PTI