A clinical India proved too hot to handle as the hosts beat Nepal 3-1 to romp into the final of the SAFF Women’s Championship at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Monday (January 2, 2017). India led 1-0 at the interval.
For India Kamala Devi opened the scoring in the 45th minute only to be doubled by Indumathi in the 58th minute, while the livewire Sasmita Malik completed the rout in the 83rd minute. For Nepal, Sabitra Bhandari reduced the margin in the 75th minute from a penalty.
The first-half was totally one-sided. India were dominant all throughout, thus, setting the pace of the match. The game was stretched to the flanks where both, Dangmei Grace on the right and Sasmita Malik on the left, were witty, slippery, powerful and incisive.
With India already having hit the upright once, Nepal, by the 25th minute were defending quite desperately. India earned corners at regular intervals and after a certain time, it was quite hard to keep a track of how many were earned.
India Coach Sajid Dar described it was a “team effort which saw India through.”
Speaking at the official post-match press conference, Sajid said: “It is hard to single out any single Player. Right from the goalkeeper to our defenders to the midfielders to the strikers, everyone played their part. It was a team effort.”
However, even with all that domination and with the goal seemingly inevitable, India were made to wait and Kamala Devi’s strike at the stroke of interval was perhaps, most sweetly timed.
It allowed India to plan proceedings to their control in the 2nd half. They were willing to slow it down, stretch it again to the flanks, play some delectable one-twos, some long balls, and then slow it down again.
The second goal came in the 58th minute when Indumathi followed a long ball from Bala, beat the off-side trap and placed it in.
The last goal came in the 83d minute – rival goalkeeper Anjila, who had impressed with her interceptions and reflexes, fumbled to collect a routine corner from Sasmita and saw the ball helplessly roll into the net.
(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)