28th Senior Women's National Football ChampionshipBala dazzles as Manipur overwhelm Sikkim 9-2


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Manipur put nine past Sikkim, while Odisha and Haryana earned their first wins as Group B sprang to life in the 28th Senior Women's National Football Championship for Rajmata Jijabai Trophy Final Round in Kolkata on Saturday, May 4, 2024.
Record champions Manipur maintained top spot, with their 9-2 win over Sikkim being their second consecutive seven-goal victory after a 7-0 thrashing of Jharkhand two days ago. Odisha beat Maharashtra 4-1 and Haryana defeated Jharkhand 2-0 to move to four points each. After the second round of matches, Maharashtra occupy fifth spot with one point, while bottom side Jharkhand remain pointless and goalless so far.
Bala Devi scores five as Manipur thrash Sikkim
Veteran Indian striker Bala Devi fired on all cylinders in Manipur's grand victory at the Kishore Bharati Stadium. She opened the scoring in the 18th minute with an easy first-time finish with her right foot and added another 10 minutes later. Bala, who could not find the net in the first game despite being heavily involved in attack, struck her and Manipur's third and fourth just after the restart - scoring from Dangmei Grace's unselfish square ball and then rounding the goalkeeper to find the empty net.
Roja Devi also joined in the party and netted a second-half hat-trick with goals in the 54th, 77th and 88th minute. Daya Devi also came off the bench to add another for Manipur in the 85th minute. For Sikkim, Samjana Rai and Simran Gurung added two consolation goals in quick succession in the 71st and 72nd minute.
Odisha execute second-half turnaround
Odisha fired a second-half blitz to grab all three points from a resolute Maharashtra side in the evening fixture at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence. Aishwarya Jagtap's 25th-minute penalty had Maharashtra in the lead at the break before substitute Lynda Kom made an instant impact, equalising six minutes after coming on for Odisha. She tapped in the rebound after Pyari Xaxa's initial attempt came off the post. The match remained a closed affair until Odisha unleashed three goals between the 81st and the 84th minute to put the game to bed. Juli Kishan scored Odisha's second with a fine header before Malati Munda capitalised on a great through ball from Lynda and fired past Payal Basude in the Maharashtra goal. Munda then added another as she coolly headed in Xaxa's looping cross from the right.
Haryana bag first win
Last year's finalists Haryana got their first win of the tournament as they beat Jharkhand 2-0 in the morning fixture at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence. They got the perfect start in the seventh minute after Renu made a darting run on the right and sent in a low cross which was spilled by Jharkhand goalkeeper Jyotsna Bara, allowing Shailja to bundle in the loose ball.
Haryana's second goal was also a result of a brilliant run, this time from half-time substitute Pooja who raced in the box and squared a low ball for Neha to tap into the open net and seal the three points for head coach Ravi Kumar Punia's side.
    AIFF Media Team