Manipur defeat Odisha on penalties, to meet Railways in Hero Senior Women’s NFC Final
Kozhikode, December 8, 2021
Manipur defeated Odisha on penalties in the second semi-final of the Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2021-22 at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, on Tuesday to set up a clash with Railways in the final on December 9.
It was a slow first half which saw both teams testing each other out and chances were few and far between. The only highlight of the first half was when Papki Devi scored an own goal which gave Odisha the early lead on the 11th minute.
Both sides kept plugging away at each other, but were unable to find the second goal of the match. Just when Odisha were looking at the prospect of taking a lead into the half-time break, Manipur’s Kiranbala Chanu (45+3’) rose to the occasion in the dying minutes of the first half and scored from a beautiful corner which levelled the score at the lemon break.
Both the teams started out well in the second half with lot of pressing over each other but couldn’t manage to change the scoreline. In the 67th minute, Odisha’s Jasoda Munda took a free-kick but it went off the cross-bar.
In the 70th minute, Deepa Nayak created a great opportunity, but the striker’s attempted shot was brilliantly saved by Manipur’s custodian Roshini Devi.
The full time scoreline read 1-1 as the match progressed to extra time. Odisha maintained the pressure on Manipur’s defence, constantly bombarding them with attacks, but the Northeastern side kept on thwarting them. The match soon went into the dreaded penalty shoot-out as both the teams failed to score in the 120 minutes.
It was a perfect record for Manipur in the penalties, as Babysana Devi, Roja Devi, and Sultana MS netted the three Manipuri spot-kicks, while Jasoda Munda, Subhadra Sahu and Suman Pragyana Mohapatra missed theirs for Odisha.
Manipur will now face Railways in a replay of the 2019-20 Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship final at the EMS Corporation Stadium on Thursday, December 9.
Earlier, the first semi-final came to an end with Railways running away with a spot in the final by dint of the dreaded penalty shootouts, beating Mizoram 6-5 on penalties, after the match ended 1-1 at extra time.
After a goalless first half, Railways went ahead through Mamta on the 70th minute, but Lalnunsiami, better known as Siami, pulled one back in injury time to take the match into extra time. With the scores level after 120 minutes, Railways eventually snatched the win by a 6-5 margin on penalties.
Both teams started with a safety-first approach to assess the opponents first. In the 36th minute, Thansangi of Mizoram missed a brilliant chance from a close-range free-kick, but was fouled at the end.
Although both teams created equal goal scoring opportunities, neither proved to be clinical in front of goal and at the halfway point, both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging with the scoreline reading 0-0.
It was a box-to-box affair after the changeover, as both teams tried to breach the opponents more than once but eventually last season’s runner-ups Railways, who took the lead midway through the second half. It was Mamta (70’) who opened the scorebook for Railways, giving them the lead into the match. It was a beautiful run by Tara, who quickly passed the ball to Mamta as she chipped it into the goal.
Since then, it was all Railways as they thudded attack after attack, penetrating the opponents. They dominated the exchanges and fostered goal-scoring opportunities but lack of accuracy in front of goal saw a switch in momentum.
Just when the referee was about to blow the final whistle towards the end of injury time, Mizoram made a stunning comeback via Siami’s solo goal which led the match into extra time.
Both the sides tried and failed to make much headway in the 30 minutes of extra time, and the match headed into the dreaded penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play.
Railways eventually emerged victorious in the shootout, after Grace Lalrampari and Vanlalhmangahzuali missed for Mizoram, while Suprava Samal was the only one to miss for Railways, thus the latter won the shootout by a 6-5 margin.
The final will be streamed live on the Indian Football Team Facebook page and the Indian Football YouTube channel.