Manipur successfully defended the National Women’s Football Championship crown for senior players after a dramatic knockout round win over Railways in the final on Thursday. After a short fight with the defender, NK finally tucks the ball home. Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini Devi made three saves to give her team their 21st title at this level.
It was also a special moment for Manipur coach Oinam Bembem Devi, who won the women’s national title as a player. She said, “I am very happy to have won this title as a player. The girls played a great game and I am proud to have successfully defended this title.”
Manipur dominated the game throughout to win the National Women’s Football Championship, but could not get past the defense of the Railways that maintained its form and discipline. The lack of penetration led to a series of long-range attempts from the Northeast, which did not bother opposition leader Swarnmayi Samal. Samal was gifted! The referee suspiciously handed her a 90-minute penalty in the match, which was neatly done away with.
As the game progressed, the physical weight of the players began to show. Both teams had to go through a draw in the semi-finals to reach this stage, and fatigue began to play a significant role, as players collapsed with cramps and muscle injuries.
Both teams were tied after the third shot in the tiebreaker, which missed one, scored one and saved one. Roshini Devi made two more fine defenses, and winger Yangoijam Kiranbala Devi struck a crucial fourth penalty to turn the score in Manipur’s favour.
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