Women's Football: Manipur crowned Senior Women's NFC Champions for a record 22nd time

Bala Devi and Sibani Devi scored for Manipur as they defeated Haryana by 2-0 in Kolkata to win the Senior Women's National Football Championships for a record 22nd time.

Koushik Biswas
New Update
Manipur crowned Sr Women's NFC Champions for a record 22nd time -
Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

Bala Devi-led Manipur were crowned the champions of the  Senior Women’s National Football Championship for Rajmata Jijabai Trophy for a record 22nd time after beating Haryana by 2-0 in the final in Kolkata on Wednesday. Bala Devi (68th) and Sibani Devi (83rd) scored for the Manipur team after Samiksha was sent off for a foul on Dangmei Grace in the 65th minute of the match. 

Despite Manipur being the more prominent side on paper, Haryana did not give them an inch on the field to take advantage of in the first half. In the first quarter of the match, Haryana squeezed the midfield so hard that Bala Devi had to drop down to midfield to create more spaces and use her vision to create chances through the wings. 

In the 21st minute, Bala Devi used her experience to turn Arati in the midfield and play an areal ball to Grace to create the first chance of the game. However, the Best goalkeeper of the Indian Women's League, Shreya Hooda was too good to save the shot from Grace. 

Just before the half-hour mark, Sibani had the chance to score first for Manipur, but she missed her header from Grace's cross. 

Manipur crowned Sr Women's NFC Champions for a record 22nd time - SIbani Devi -
Manipur's Sibani Devi had some early chances in the game. Image | AIFF Media

In the 33rd minute, Haryana got their first chance of the match via a free-kick from Renu Rani, who tried her luck with the spot kick and Linthoingambi Devi fumbled first before gathering the ball. 

Right before the first half, Bala Devi nearly pulled off an acrobatic volley from a cross by Sibani Devi. 

Read Also: Inspiring and the Unbreakable Spirit of Sanju, the Indian Women's Football Team midfielder

Red card, Saves and Goals in the second half

In the second half, Manipur came out all guns blazing but it was Shreya Hooda and the Haryana defenders who kept Roja and Grace away from netting the ball. But, Haryana took advantage of that as Neha, the former FIFA U17 Women's World Cup player, in a counter-attack provided the best chance for them. Linthoingambi Devi had to make a great save to deny her.

Manipur crowned Sr Women's NFC Champions for a record 22nd time - Bala Devi scored first for Manipur -
Bala Devi after scoring the first goal of the match. Image | AIFF Media

In the 65th minute, Samiksha pulled down Dangmei Grace inside the box as Referee Ruba Devi sent her off with a red card. But, Shreya Hooda stepped up again to make a double save to deny Bala Devi twice. 

But, Haryana with 10 players on the field could not resist Manipuyr that much as three minutes later Bala Devi netted the ball from an assist by Roja. Roja flicked the ball to Bala behind the defence and the Manipur captain stormed inside the box to give her side the lead. 

In the 83rd minute, from a mistake by Haryana defender Kajol, Sibani got the chance to control the stray ball and sprint inside the ball before placing the ball inside the goal for their second goal.

Shreya Hooda and Bala Devi with their individual awards in the  Senior Women’s National Football Championship -
Shreya Hooda (on the left of the image) and Bala Devi with their awards. Image | AIFF Media

Bala Devi won the Player of the Tournament award and shared the top scorer award with Yumnam Kamala Devi. Haryana's Shreya Hooda won the best goalkeeper of the tournament award.

Indian Football