Sr. Women's Football Nationals: Haryana Beat Manipur To Top Group B, Reach Semis - Eastern Mirror
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Sr. Women’s football nationals: Haryana beat Manipur to top Group B, reach semis

By IANS Updated: May 11, 2024 8:36 pm
Photo: IANS

KOLKATA — Haryana clinched their spot in the semifinals from Group B in the 28th Senior Women’s National Football Championship for Rajmata Jijabai Trophy Final Rounds, edging mighty Manipur 1-0 at the Kishore Bharati Stadium here on Saturday.

The defeat, however, did not stop Manipur from going to the semifinals, as their place in the last four was already confirmed before this match. The only difference the result made was that it elevated Haryana to the top of the group with 13 points from five matches and Manipur had to remain content with 12 points and second place.

With Saturday being the last day of the quarterfinal league and Manipur already sitting pretty, the battle for the second semifinal spot in Group B was between Odisha and Haryana.

The scenario was straightforward. Haryana needed a point, while Odisha had to beat Sikkim and wait for a favourable result from the Haryana versus Manipur match. Things didn’t go the Odisha way. They did rout Sikkim 4-1, but Haryana’s victory over Manipur forced them to bow out of the tournament. Following their win against Sikkim, who were already eliminated from the group, Odisha finished with 10 points from five matches.

In the semifinals on Monday (May 13), Group A runners-up Bengal will face Group B winners Haryana and Group A winners Tamil Nadu will take on Group B runners-up Manipur.

Jharkhand overcome Maharashtra

In the day’s opening match at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence, Jharkhand emerged 3-1 winners over Maharashtra, thus concluding their campaign on a high note.

Despite already being eliminated, Jharkhand managed to get three points, while Maharashtra ended their campaign with just one point from five matches. All four goals were netted in the second half of the game. Anushka Kumari was the star for Jharkhand, scoring twice in the 60th and 90+3rd minutes, while Sangita Hansdak added to the tally with a goal in the 75th minute.

Maharashtra’s consolation goal came from Nishka Parkash, who converted the penalty in the 90+2 minute.

Renu strike keeps Haryana flying

Haryana earned their place in the semifinals with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Manipur, marking their fourth win in the championship. Earlier, they won against Jharkhand (2-0), Sikkim (5-0) and Maharashtra (3-0) and drew one match against Odisha (1-1).

The all-important goal came early on, with India international player Renu finding the back of the net in the 6th minute. Renu displayed exceptional skill by dispossessing a couple of Manipur defenders before having a penetrating run through the midfield. With ample space inside the box, she executed a measured strike to get the crucial goal for her team.

Although the 21-time champions, Manipur had their fair share of opportunities throughout the match, they were unable to convert any of them into goals, ultimately falling short against a determined Haryana side.

Odisha’s big win goes in vain

Despite securing a convincing 4-1 victory over Sikkim, strong contenders Odisha fell short of qualifying for the semi-finals, as in another fixture, Haryana secured the crucial points to book their berth in the semifinal. Odisha launched into an aggressive attacking strategy right from the outset, with Manisha Naik finding the back of the net in the 8th minute. Naik capitalised on a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper, slotting the ball neatly into the middle of the net.

However, Sikkim’s Simran Gurung managed to restore parity in the 15th minute with a header from a well-placed pass by Muskan Subba at the centre of the box. Four minutes later, Pratima Oram put Odisha ahead again when she connected a fine cross from the right by Malati Munda. Satyabati Khadia and Sumitra Hembram extended the lead with goals in the 45+2 and 55th minutes, respectively.

By IANS Updated: May 11, 2024 8:36:51 pm
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