Harpal Singh Bedi
Manipur Police and Sethu FC (Tamil Nadu) chalked out contrasting victories over their respective rivals on Monday to set up a title clash in the Hero Indian Women’s Football League in Ludhiana.
In the first semi final of the day, riding on Bala Devi’s four goals Manipur Police overpowered Gokulam Kerala FC 4-2 despite being one player down in the second half, while in the other semi final Sethu FC thrashed SSB Women FC 8-1
Thanks to Bala Devi, Manipur Police ousted Gokulam after trailing 1-2 at one stage and played with one player less after defender Romi Devi was sent off on the 47th minute.
Manipur took the lead the quarter-hour mark. Daya was played into the box via an aerial through ball, but was fouled by Gokulam centre back Poli Koley resulting in a penalty and Bala Devi made no mistake in converting it..
Gokulam, started to play their counter-attacks off Manisha and got their equalizer through a corner, as Bina Devi turned it into her own net from a melee.
In the second half, Gokulam striker Anju Tamang penetrated the Manipur box and fired a shot that was blocked off the line. However, it had struck Romi Devi’s hand and she was subsequently sent off. Ranjana Chanu converted the ensuing penalty to put Gokulam in front for the first time.
Manipur, however, did not lie low, despite being one player down. They pressed forward, and earned another foul inside the opposition box, which gave them a penalty to equalise from. Bala Devi duly converted it to put her side level.
10 minutes of regulation Bala put Manipur ahead again with a superb goal. A minute later, Bala with a powerful left-footer sent the ball home (4-2)
With this performance, Bala now moves on to 26 goals six matches in this tournament so far.
In other semi final Sabitra Bhandari scored four goals enabling Sethu FC rout SSB Women FC 8-1
Dangmei Grace put them in the lead within the first quarter of an hour. The India international was on form as she created the chance that led to the second goal which was off scored by Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari. Grace soon added a third on the stroke of half time,
Grace scored one a few minutes after the restart, while Sabitra Bhandari scored two more as both the India and the Nepal internationals completed their hat-tricks, before Dular Marandi pulled one back for SSB. However, Ratanbala soared up the pitch from the restart and immediately restored Sethu’s six-goal cushion just a minute later.
The final will be played on Wednesday