Football

Manipur emerge Senior Women’s National Football champions

India’s best: The Manipur women who won their 21st National crown.

India’s best: The Manipur women who won their 21st National crown.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Manipur is top scorer with 21 goals; Chanu named ‘best goalkeeper’

Bala Devi struck her 21st goal of the campaign to steer Manipur to the title in the senior women’s National football championship title here on Tuesday.

Her 67th-minute strike proved the difference as Manipur clinched its 20th National crown with a 1-0 win over Railways in the final.

The Railways defenders had their task cut out in trying to keep in check Bala and Kamala Devi, both of whom who had scored 20 goals apiece coming into the summit clash.

Daya Devi, who scored seven goals in the last two matches, got the first chance in the second minute but Railways goalkeeper Swarnamayee Samal came to the team’s rescue.

Railways’ wingers Mamta and Sanju kept the Manipur defenders on their toes and the latter had a fine chance within the first 10 minutes, but her strike missed the target by a whisker.

Daya got another opportunity in the 28th minute, but her left-footed attempt from an acute angle went just wide.

After the hour-mark, Manipur upped the ante and had back-to-back chances, only to see them intercepted by India skipper Ashalata Devi and Manisha Panna.

The decisive moment of the contest came when Bala, following a melee inside the Railways box, unleashed a right-footer that sneaked into to the back of the net.

She had a chance to double Manipur’s lead three minutes later, but couldn't beat the 'keeper.

Manipur survived a scare in the 75th minute when Bina Devi’s untimely challenge brought Sanju down at the edge of the box. Kamala took the resulting freekick, but her attempt sailed over the crossbar.

Railways attacked in waves but the Manipur defenders warded off the threat.

Bala emerged the highest scorer, with 21 goals from six matches, while Manipur custodian Panthoi Chanu was named the ‘best goalkeeper.’

The result (final): Manipur 1 (Bala Devi 67) bt Railways 0.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:48:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/manipur-emerge-senior-womens-national-football-champions/article29501999.ece

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