Two first-half goals helped Manipur beat Odisha 2-0 in the final and retain the women’s football title in the National Games at the Eka Arena Transstadia in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Manipur captain and ace India forward N. Bala Devi drew first blood in the 10th minute, while international N. Ratanbala Devi doubled the lead in the 36th minute for the winning side.
Coached by the legendary Oinam Bembem Devi, Manipur applied pressure from the beginning with Bala Devi leading the attack.
Goalkeeper Sandipta Das guarded the Odisha post confidently until Bala Devi found the mark with a shot from inside the box.
Manipur continued to test the Odisha defence and got the second goal when Ratanbala, who plays for Gokulam Kerala in the Indian Women’s League, scored through a grounder from a distance.
Odisha, coached by former Mohun Bagan player Crispin Chettri, showed greater resolve and cohesion after the change of ends. It produced some long rangers and earned a few corners, but the Manisa Panna-led side could not open its account.
Odisha searched for goals till late in the match with Pyari Xaxa and substitute Satyabati Khadia working hard upfront. But they could not stop Manipur from securing the gold medal.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal playoff, Tamil Nadu beat Assam 5-1.