TN wins maiden women’s National C’ship title

Defeats defending champion Manipur 2-1 in a keenly fought final.

The Tamil Nadu women’s team with its trophy on Wednesday.   -  AIFF Media

Tamil Nadu secured its maiden Senior Women’s National Football Championship title at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack on Wednesday. It defeated Manipur 2-1 in its first-ever final; goals from Indumathi (third minute) and Indrani (40th minute) sealed the deal for the side. For Manipur, the only goal arrived via Ratanbala in the 57th minute.

Indumathi was adjudged the player of the match and the player of the tournament.

Tamil Nadu took the lead when Indumathi caught the Manipuri defence napping; she broke through the middle to go past a couple of defenders to score the early goal.

Onslaught

Shaken up by the early deficit, the Manipur side sprung to life as it drove forward in numbers. Wave after wave of attacks followed but the Tamil Nadu backline held on. Bala Devi struck the post in the 25th minute and Ratanbala’s shot went straight to the goalkeeper a minute later. The defending champion looked frantically for the equaliser, and as a consequence left itself susceptible to counter-attacks.

Indrani doubled the lead before half-time, making good use of Indumathi’s ball into the box.

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Tamil Nadu was quick to come off the blocks in the second half as Nandhini found herself one-on-one against the goalkeeper, but Panthoi was on hand to thwart the effort. Indumathi had a shot of her own soon after but it flew just over the crossbar.

Revival

During this phase, Tamil Nadu was caught off-guard as Ratanbala pulled one back on the counter for Manipur. The goal seemed to have a revitalising effect on Manipur. With total control of the ball, the game was limited to the Tamil Nadu half as Manipur went in search for its equaliser. Its opponent had a golden chance in the 66th minute to put the match to bed as Nandhini once again found herself with an open net. But Panthoi rushed out to snatch the ball off her feet.

With the minutes ticking away, Tamil Nadu fell back to defend its lead as the trio of Bala-Grace-Ratanbala bombarded the goal, but each time it was kept away as Tamil Nadu held on to create history.

Subrata Dutta, the AIFF vice-president, congratulated the team on its success. “I congratulate the Tamil Nadu team on winning the Senior Women’s Championship. Their first final and they created history. They were excellent on the field today and certainly deserved to win. I also hope this inspires other teams to come up the way Tamil Nadu have. This proves hard work always pays,” he said.

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