India enters fifth straight SAFF Women's Championship final

Indumathi Kathiresan scored a brace as Indian women's team registered a dominant 4-0 win over Bangladesh to book a place in the SAFF Women's Championship final for the fifth time in a row.

Mayamol Rocky's team was at its clinical best on the offence while being disciplined at the back.   -  AIFF

The Indian women's team secured a berth in the final of the SAFF Women's Championship for the fifth time in a row with a clinical 4-0 win over Bangladesh on Wednesday at the Sahid Rangashala Stadium in Biratnagar, Nepal. Dalima Chhibber opened the scoring for India, which was followed by a brace from Indumathi Kathiresan and an injury-time strike by Manisha, as the defending champion took its tally to 15 unopposed goals in three matches.

The Bangladesh looked to score the opener in the first few minutes with an upfield press but the Indian centre-back pairing of Ashalata and Sweety Devi stood tall and denied the opposition forwards any sniff at goal.

After a tense start, the Indians found their rhythm and ventured forward. With 18 minutes gone, Sanju curled in an excellent delivery from the left that fell to Dalima inside the box and the right-back made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

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Bangladesh centre-back Mosammat Khatun skied an effort from close range while Sanju was denied by the custodian in a one-on-one situation in quick succession.

Sanju turned the provider again for India's second in the 23rd minute by putting through midfielder Indumathi with a clever turn of direction.

India added the third in the 37th minute off a counter attack when Sanju and Sandhiya combined inside the box to lay the ball for Indumathi, who applied the finish touch.

India dominated the game from the get go to book a place in the final.   -  AIFF

 

As the sides switched ends for the second half, it was India that started out stronger and controlled most of the possession. Dangmei Grace saw her shot across goal go inches wide of the post while Sanju controlled the wings.

Coach Maymol Rocky brought on Anju Tamang and Manisha in place of Ratanbala Devi and Grace respectively, and both substitutes produced impactful performances as soon as they came on. With 15 minutes to go, Anju ran in goal and looked to chip the keeper with a volleyed effort but it sailed just over the bar.

Manisha drew an excellent save from rival custodian before finding the target in the dying moments of the match as she pounced on a loose ball in the box, rounded the keeper and scored her first goal of the tournament.

The match ended 4-0 in favour of the Indian side, who will now take on hosts Nepal in the final on Friday, March 22.