SAFF WOMEN FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT -SILIGURI INDIA 2016-17


SAFF WOMEN FOOTBALL - 2016 : SILIGURI, INDIA
 India Women reach in the Final
4th January 2017 : INDIA 3-1 BANGLADESH
IND : Dangmei Grace 12', Sasmita Malik (PEN-60'), Indumathi 67'
BAN : Sirat Jahan Shopna 40'

India won their fourth consecutive SAFF Women’s Championship title when they beat Bangladesh 3-1 in the final of the 4th SAFF Women’s Championship at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Wednesday (January 4, 2016). In the process, the golden girls now stay unbeaten in 19 matches having won 18 and drawn one.

The first goal came early, as early as the 12th minute. Though it wasn’t a dream goal for any striker, scorer Dangmei Grace didn’t really mind when it touched her leg and slowly rolled into the empty net with rival Goalkeeper Sabina Akhtar caught in a dilemma. It set the tone for the match. The match being a final meant that Bangladesh had to shrug off their defensive aspirations and that allowed India the width and space.

In the first 20 minutes, India had earned 4 corners and every time Bala Devi touched the ball, she created something out of nothing. In fact, Kamala Devi should have doubled the lead in the 17th minute when Bala set her a free-header, but it narrowly sailed out. However, Bangladesh withstood the storm, regrouped, and eventually equalise in the40th minute throughShopna as both Teams headed to the interval locked 1-1.

Changing over, India were again faster off the blocks. They pressed high and hard even as Bangladesh depended mostly on counter-attacks. The break came in the 60th minute when the irrepressible Bala was pushed inside the box as the referee pointed to the spot. 2016 AIFF Player of the Year Sasmita Malik gleefully converted it.

With just 30 minutes remaining, it was quite a task for Bangladesh to come back. And it went worse for them seven minutes later when Goalkeeper Sabina, who was having a decent game till then, misjudged the bounce of a harmless Indumathi shot from long and it rolled in. As India’s golden girls celebrated, Sabina hid her face in her gloves, quite understanding her mistake may rob her Country of the steam to fight back. Life at times can be so cruel.

Spurred, India did go all out as they smelt more. But this time, their perseverance didn’t yield any more goals.

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 India Women reach in the Final
2 January 2017 : NEPAL 1-3 INDIA
IND : Kamala Devi 45', Indumathi 58', Sasmita Malik 83'
NEP : Sabitra Bhandari 75' – penalty)

02.01.2017: AIFF PRESS RELEASE : 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 Football Championship at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Monday (January 2, 2017). India led one-nil 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 2nd 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.

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27.12.2016 : INDIA 5-1 AFGANISTAN
IND : Kamala Devi 3', 32', Sasmita Malik 29'; , Grace 45+2', Sanju 90+2'
AFG : Muhtaz Farkhunda 88'

27.12.2016 : AIFF PRESS RELEASE : India Women's Team start their SAFF Championship 2016 campaign in style as they rout Afghanistan by a whopping 5-1 margin in the Group B opener at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri today (December 27, 2016).

Kamala Devi opened the scoreline in the third minute even before the spectators could settle. The early goal instilled more vigour into the Indian girls to change the gear in their pursuit of more goals. At the stroke of the half-hour mark, the referee awarded a penalty in the favour of the hosts and 'AIFF Women's Player of the Year' Sasmita Malik didn't waste the chance to double the lead from the 6-yard spot.

Afghani girls were trying to consolidate the game in the middle but India netted the third goal three minutes later from a brilliant piece of individual skill of Kamala Devi. She sneaked past the opposition defender from the left, cut into the penalty box and whacked the back of the net, leaving the goalie stranded.

In the dying minutes of the first half, Grace joined the party to take the scoreline to unassailable 4-0. After the changeover, it was a completely different Afghanistan outfit who came out of the dressing room and the game was not a one-way traffic anymore. Afghanistan players tried to control the game from their half and started building up attacks to break the Indian defiance.

Although the Indian defenders show their resilience to thwart the Afghani girls' every effort, finally the deadlock was broken two minutes to the end of the regulation time.Muhtaz Farkhunda tapped it home to net their first goal of the tournament sending the Afghanistan dressing room into a delirium.

Three minutes later, 'AIFF Emerging Player of the Year' Sanju nailed the final one in the Afghani coffin to seal the victory for the defending champions.