SAFF Women’s C’ship: India defeats Sri Lanka, storms into semis

Sanju stars in India’s 5-0 demolition of Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Indians celebrate one of their five goals on Sunday. Photo: AIFF Media

The Indian women’s football team stormed into the semifinals of the SAFF Women’s Championship with a 5-0 demolition of Sri Lanka in Biratnagar, Nepal on Sunday.

The Indians put their opponents under pressure right from the get-go. They took the lead in the fourth minute — Grace Dangmei headed in a rebound off the crossbar, after Sanju, from the left, cut in to try to unleash a shot towards goal. Three minutes later, Sanju played a role in India’s second goal as well — she broke down the left past the defensive line, and put in an inch-perfect cross, which was tapped in by the onrushing player, Sandhiya.

One-sided contest

Sri Lankan goalkeeper Wijerathna made a couple of good saves, but could not deny India two more goals before half-time. In the 36th minute, Sanju ran past her marker yet again and put in a cross that fell to Indumathi, who slammed it past the goalkeeper into the goal. Just before the half-time, Sanju’s cross struck the hand of a Sri Lankan defender and she duly scored from the spot, giving India a 4-0 lead.

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Another goal arrived from inside the box early in the second half. Ratanbala unleashed a powerful stroke to make it 5-0. India dominated possession from thereon and held on to its lead.

In the semifinals, it takes on Bangladesh, the Group A runner-up, on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.