BHUBANESWAR: For the third time, Orissa had to be content with the runners up title in the just concluded 18 {+t} {+h} senior national women's football tournament at Imphal. It lost to hosts Manipur by the maiden goal of the final match.

However, the peerless performances of the Orissa team in the tournament has won hearts back home and the sports fraternity and the fans have been showering praise on the team that was led by former Indian women football squad skipper Sradhanjali Samantray. Coach N.K.Patnaik, known for his pioneering efforts in laying the foundation stone of women's football in Orissa and producing star players like Sraddhanjali, informed that Orissa won over Rajasthan by 29-0 goals followed by Karnataka (6-1), Assam (8-0), Haryana (5-0), West Bengal (2-0) and Tamil Nadu (3-0) in the tournament – considered as a series of spectacular success against such powerful teams.

“All the players delivered their best. I should say that luck did not favour them this time,” Patnaik remarked.

“We are proud of the team's steady and impressive performances.

It has scored a record number of 53 goals in this tournament while being at the receiving end only on two occasions,” stated Sahadev Rout, secretary of the Women's Football Association of Orissa.

Orissa has already emerged as the national champions in the sub- junior and junior categories by defeating Manipur, it was learnt.