India reach women football fil
From Our Correspondent
SHILLONG, Feb 13: India earned a place in the 12th South Asian Games women’s football fil against Nepal after outplaying a spirited Bangladeshi side following a comprehensive 5-1 win on Saturday’s virtual semi fil clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong.
It was a do or die match for both tions with Bangladesh needing at least a draw to qualify to the fil, but the domint Indian side stepped on the gas from the word go to place their opponents on the back foot.
It took India only six minutes to move into the lead with Kamala Devi collecting a rebound and smashing a low shot past Bangladesh's custodian Mossamat Roshan Ara into goal.
Three minutes later, Prameshwori Devi nearly made it two for India with a scorcher that just barely missed the target. However, in the 9th minute, Bala Devi scored off a rebound, driving a left footer past Ara giving India a 2-0 lead.
Bangladesh could have reduced the deficit in the 33rd minute through Sirat Jahan Shop but the striker's shot found the cross bar. India capitalised on yet another opportunity in the 37th minute when Bala Devi assisted Kamala Devi for a gentle tap in to hand India a 3-0 lead going into the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, India's Ashalata Devi was replaced by Radharani Devi after an on field collision with another player and was taken off on a stretcher. In the 65th minute, Bangladesh replied with a goal through Sabi Khatun's header after a Bangladesh free kick to bring the game alive. Bangladesh came down hard on India midway through teh second half, setting the tone for an exciting finish.
But their happiness was short-lived as India made it 4-1 in the 71st minute after substitute Sanju made a long run down the right flank and moved into the box to produce a low shot past keeper Mossamat Ara. Bangladesh's woes continued as they conceded a fifth and fil goal a minute later with Bala Devi scoring from a close range.
The Indian onslaught continued until the fil whistle as they finished 5-1 to move into the tourment fil against Nepal on February 15.
Speaking to reporters after the match, India's coach Sajid Yusuf Dhar praised his girls and the consistency they have carried forth in the tourment. “The girls have been playing consistently. There was some pressure on us going into the match but were able to score goals. We are pretty confident we will win the title again this time around,” Dhar added. The coach was also quick to praise Bala Devi saying, “Bala Devi is still the best player we've got. I don't think there is any comparison to Bala as a player.”
Bangladesh, on the other hand, end their run in the tourment and will most likely head home right after the fil. Coach Golam Robbani Choton admitted that India is a better side and said that his players lack experience when compared to the Indian girls. “Our players are young so lack of experience played a big factor,” he said.
Moreover, India will take on Nepal in the mens football fil on Monday from 7pm onwards. Nepal upset Maldives 4-3 in extra time in the second semifil today evening.