Junior girls' National Championship: Jharkhand, Haryana seal semfinal spots

Jharkhand cruised past Manipur and Haryana beat defending champion Tamil Nadu in quarterfinals one and two of the junior girls' National Football Championship.

Action from the quarterfinal match between Jharkhand and Manipur in the junior girls' national championship.   -  AIFF Media

Jharkhand and Haryana made their way into the semifinals of the junior girls' National Football Championships with convincing wins over last year's finalists Manipur and Tamil Nadu at the Rajarshi Shahu Stadium in Kolhapur on Friday.

Sumati Kumar continued her free-scoring run, grabbing a brace in Jharkhand's 4-0 triumph against Manipur while Haryana captain Raveena played a starring role in her team's 4-0 win against Tamil Nadu.

Rampant Jharkhand

Jharkhand, which came into the quarterfinal on the back of scoring a whopping 31 goals in its two group stage games, got the dream start against three-time champion Manipur as it opened the scoring in the second minute through Kuwari Indwar. Kuwari immaculately controlled a low cross from the left flank before shooting it past the opposing goalkeeper.

The match became an open encounter when Manipur fashioned chances through L. Kipgen and Shilky Devi midway through the first half but Jharkhand's 'keeper, Sandhya Toppo, was up to the task. Manipur continued its search for the equaliser but saw itself fall further behind as Sumati Kumari scored her 14th goal in three matches.

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In the 29th minute, captain Astam Oraon intercepted a ball in the middle of the park and played in Sumati, who slammed an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

Three minutes into the second half, Oraon made it three for Jharkhand with a viciously swerving shot from long range that left the goalkeeper with no chance. Manipur desperately searched for a foothold in the game but could not get past centre-halves Saraswati Kri and Sudha Tirkey. In the 87th minute, Sumati put the final nail in the coffin with another composed finish as she rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home.

Action from the quarterfinal match between Haryana and Tamil Nadu in the junior girls' national championship.   -  AIFF Media

 

Defending champ toppled

The start of the quarterfinal between Tamil Nadu and Haryana was cagey, as both sides threw punches but did not land a striking blow in the first quarter of the match. Both goalkeepers were tested a couple of times, with Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Dhana Lakshmi looking confident with her handling and communication.

However, she could do little in the 31st minute as Haryana opened the scoring through winger Bali when a cross from the right wing sailed over the defenders and keeper to nestle into the back of the net.

With the first half coming to a close, Tamil Nadu had two great chances to equalise but was denied at the last moment. In the 35th minute, Priyadharshini S. jinked past two defenders and was set to shoot but was denied by a last-ditch sliding tackle. Ten minutes later, Mariyammal S. whipped in a free-kick on target from the right but Haryana keeper Anshika dived across and pushed the ball onto the post before the defence scrambled it clear.

Haryana doubled its lead in the 49th minute with a classic set piece goal as Mamta headed the ball home from a corner kick. The team could have added a couple in the next six minutes as Raveena was denied in a one-on-one situation and then put her shot wide from eight yards out. However, she was not be denied in the 64th minute when she raced into the box from the right and placed the ball into the far corner to make it 3-0. In the first minute of added time, she completed her hat-trick with a deft finish.

The third and fourth quarterfinals will be played on Saturday.

The schedule:

QF 3 - Odisha vs Himachal Pradesh (7:15 AM)

QF 4 - Gujarat vs Mizoram (4 PM)

 

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