Defending champions India got off to their best possible title defense in the third edition of the SAFF Women’s Championship as they breezed past Maldives 8-0 in a Group A encounter in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday.
Striker Bala Devi scored four goals either side of halftime to lead the rout with Kamala Devi, Bembem Devi, and substitute Jyoti Burrett also joining the party.
It all started with Bala who neatly finished from Kamala Devi’s assist in the 24th minute to break opponents’ resistance. The floodgates opened it was now a matter of how many as Bala made it two at the stroke of halftime, this time Mandakini Devi effecting a slide rule pass to set up Bala who made no mistake in slotting home.
Change of ends saw no change in the fate of the match as India upped the ante showing no mercy on their hapless rivals. Kamala Devi got on the act in the 66th minute with a good individual effort from the top of the box while Bala netted another two in quick succession in the 68th and 73rd minutes.
Bembem conjured up a tremendous free kick in the 75th minute while Kamala added another in the 81st with Jyoti for company who found Bala turning provider three minute from full time.
India next play Bangladesh on Saturday (November 15).
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)