Defending champion Tamil Nadu began its junior girls' National Football Championship campaign with a resounding 5-0 win over Madhya Pradesh at the Rajarshi Shahu Stadium here on Saturday.
M. Saritha opened the scoring for Tamil Nadu in the 21st minute and added a second just before half time, while Mariyammal B struck a brace and Priyadharshini S found the back of the net four minutes from time in the Group B enocunter.
The day got off to a stupendous start as Jharkhand hammered 21 unanswered goals past a hapless Jammu and Kashmir in their Group A fixture. Forward Sumati Kumari scored five goals, while Astam Oraon, Anu Radha Kumari and Priya Kumari scored hat-tricks.
Three-time champion Manipur kicked off its campaign with three points, registering a 4-0 victory over Uttarakhand. S. Lynda Kom grabbed the first in the 20th minute while T. Kritina Devi, N. Priyangka Devi and H. Shilky Devi netted in the second half to down a gritty Uttarakhand side.
Joining Manipur at the top of the table in Group C will be Goa, which recorded a 3-1 win over Tripura. Striker Karen Estrocio got all three goals for the Goan team while Anjali Debbarma scored a consolation goal for Tripura in the 89th minute.
Action in Group D saw West Bengal claim a 1-0 win over Arunachal Pradesh, while Haryana soared to a 9-0 win over Karnataka. Rajni Bala scored four goals and captain Raveena bagged a hattrick for Haryana.
The girls will be eager to shine as the tourney will serve as a platform for scouting talent for the FIFA U-117 Women's World Cup, which will be held in India next year. Indian women's football team coach Maymol Rocky and U-18 women's coach Alex Ambrose will be attending the matches to help with the scouting process.
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