Indian eves begin SAFF title defence with resounding win over Maldives

The 6-0 win against Maldives sees India extend its unbeaten run at the SAFF Championships to 20 matches.

Sanju slams in a goal from around 35 yards out, with the Maldives keeper well off her line.   -  Special Arrangement

The Indian women's national team kicked-off its campaign at the SAFF Women's Championship with a resounding 6-0 win over Maldives at the Sahid Rangashala Stadium in Biratnagar, Nepal on Wednesday.

Dangmei Grace, Sandhiya Ranganathan, Sanju, Indumathi Kathiresan and Ratanabala Devi found the back of the net for India.

The Indian team went on the attack from the kickoff. After a couple of close attempts in the opening exchanges, Grace put India in the lead eight minutes into the match. Good pressing from the attackers allowed the winger to latch on to a loose ball inside the box and slot it past the keeper.

Grace was involved in the second goal as well, this time providing an assist in the 13th minute. Sandhiya's first touch brought Grace's cross under control, who then turned and shot the ball into the back of the net.

Two goals up, coach Maymol Rocky's side continued to dominate possession. The third goal came in the 22nd minute when Indumathi Kathiresan got free of her marker, raced towards goal and slammed it past the keeper with a powerful drive into the roof of the net.


The Indian eves celebrate Indumathi's goal against Maldives.   -  Special Arrangement


The fourth goal came four minutes later, when Sanju got Dalima Chhibber's cross-field ball from the right under control, turned a defender, switched the ball to her right foot and curled it into the far corner.

The fourth minute of first-half stoppage time saw India score a fifth through Ratanbala Devi's free-kick from just outside the penalty area.

At the restart, Manisha replaced Indumathi as the Indian eves continued to control the game. Maldives dropped deep into its own half, which meant a number of India's chances came from long range — with Grace, Manisha, Dalima and Sangita all coming close to extending their team's lead.

The tempo slowed down as the match progressed. The last minute of the match saw Sanju scoring a sixth goal for India. Seeing the goalkeeper off her line, she took a shot from distance which went over the keeper and straight into the goal.

With the result, India extends its unbeaten run at the SAFF Championships to 20 matches.

India Starting XI: Aditi Chauhan (Sowmiya N 66'); Jabamani Tudu, Ashalata Devi, Sweety Devi, Dalima Chhibber; Indumati Kathiresan (Manisha 46'), Sangita Basfore, Ratanbala Devi (Roja Devi 76'); Dangmei Grace, Sanju, Sandhiya Ranganathan.

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