NEW DELHI, Jun 29
The first two quarterfinals of the Hero Junior (U-17) Women’s NFC were played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Bihar came from behind to register a 3-2 victory that knocked out favourites Manipur.
In the second quarter-final, Arunachal Pradesh secured a narrow 1-0 victory against Chhattisgarh.
The first quarter-final between Bihar and Manipur kicked off at 9 AM IST at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and it was an entertaining affair. Bihar started the match on the front foot and came close in the 2nd minute of the game. Manisha found herself with some space on the far side. She received the cross but her first-time shot hit the side netting. This woke up the Manipur team and they countered immediately.
In the 4th minute, Oinam Babita Devi had a very good chance but the Bihar defenders were able to collectively stifle the threat from the Manipur forwards.
In the 6th minute, miscommunication between the defenders and goalkeeper of Manipur presented a chance to Bihar. The goalkeeper was beaten as she rushed out of her area, but Lucky Kumari from Bihar was unable to put the ball into the back of the net. This would come back to bite them as Manipur took the lead in the 15th minute. A long ball was played over the top for Babita Devi who was able to go around the onrushing goalkeeper and put the ball into the back of the net. After a frantic start, Manipur was able to gain control of the game.
However, Bihar equalised soon. In the 26th minute, Bihar’s super-forward Lucky Kumari slid the ball into the path of Shruti Kumari who calmly dispatched it. Thereafter, both teams tried to control the game but it was Manipur who had the upper hand. Right after the interval, they made it count as Sanjita Devi scored a wonderfully chipped goal which left Bihar goalkeeper Khushi Kumari with no chance of saving it.
Bihar were not ready to give up just yet. Even after going down for the second time in the game, they came roaring back in the 66th minute as Sabara Khatun beat the Manipur goalkeeper, with Shruti Kumari becoming the creator this time around. Bihar completed their comeback in the dying embers of the game, as their star of the tournament so far, Lucky Kumari scored in the 87th minute from a header to seal Bihar’s spot in the semi-final.
The second quarter final of the day, which was played between Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was a rather cagey affair. With both defences on top during the opening stages of the game, chances were few and far between. Arunachal Pradesh broke the deadlock in the 35th minute as Tallo Ana was played through on goal and with just the goalkeeper to beat, she effortlessly went around Meena Kashyap to put the ball into the back of the net.
Many half chances came throughout the game for both sides to score the second goal, but neither of them were able to take it. The best chance fell to Chhattisgarh’s substitute Bindu Talem in the 50th minute when she was one vs one against Arunachal goalkeeper Tamo Kuniya but the latter came up with a brilliant save to keep her side in the lead.
These results ensure that Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh have secured their respective spots in the final four of the Hero Junior (U-17) Women’s NFC. The other two semi-final spots will be decided in the quarter-finals of the tournament which will be played on June 30, 2022, with Haryana taking on West Bengal at 9 AM and Kerala taking on Dadra and Nagar Haveli at 3 PM (IST).
AIFF Media Team