Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 14
Manipur Police Sports Club overwhelmed FC Kohlapur City 7-1 to book a berth in the semifinals in the third Hero Indian Women’s League being played at Guru Nanak Stadium here, on Tuesday.
Bala Devi scored another hat-trick and Irom Prameshwori Devi scored a brace while Pramodini Chanu and Daya Devi added two more to complete the tally.
Much like in their previous games, Manipur had a fast start. They went 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes itself, with the likes of Iron Prameshwori Devi and Bala Devi getting on the score sheet.
Kolhapur, though, were not prepared to give in so early, and went on the offensive immediately.
Their efforts to play their Nigerian forward Crystal Eke finally bore dividends, as she broke the offside trap, dummied Manipur keeper Roshini Devi, and walked the ball into the goal (2-1).
However, Manipur made sure that they carried a comfortable two-goal lead into the tunnel when Bala Devi scored another right on the stroke of half time.
Manipur came out with more intent in the second half and even nullified the threat posed by Eke by playing a highly effective offside trap. The Nigerian was flagged several times by the assistant referee.
Daya Devi added the fourth for Manipur when Bala played her into space on the right and the former beautifully chipped Kolhapur keeper Gyurme Dolma Tamang.
Manipur added two more goals, thanks to Bala Devi, who dribbled past three players and laid it off for Salam Pramodini Devi to fire it past the keeper.
A couple of minutes later, Bala completed her hat-trick to make a score-line out of what promised to be an exciting match in the first half.
In the second match, SAI-STC Cuttack boosted their chances of qualifying for the semifinals by posting their second win in a row, this time, beating Bangalore United FC by a slender margin of 1-0.
Deepa Nayak converted a penalty late in the second half to earn the three points for SAI, after the side from Odisha suffered a 0-10 loss against Manipur Police SC in their first game. Jsyoti Kumari was awarded the player of the match for her gutsy display in defence.
Bangalore United started off the game at a high tempo, enjoying long bouts of possession, as they pushed the likes of Paromita Sit and UK forward Tanvie Hans up front. While Sit led the line, Hans dropped back to pick up the ball and spray it around the park.
SAI, however, defended resolutely till the end of the first half and came out with more purpose in the second. India U-18 international, Soni Behera played a crucial role in the middle of the field, aiding the defence to thwart the Bangalore attacks.
Their plan worked perfectly and a counter attack with a little under a quarter-of-an-hour left, when a hand ball inside the Bengaluru box by Sivasankari Arumugam resulted in a penalty for SAI, which was duly converted by Deepa Nayak.
Then on, it was just a matter seeing out the match till fulltime, as the side from Odisha move up to six points on the table.
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