India came down heavy on the opposition defence in their second Group A match of the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship here on Tuesday, as they defeated the Maldives by a mammoth 8-0 scoreline.
With this win, India has secured top spot in Group A, and have booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the competition.
Having already beaten Bhutan 4-0 in the previous game, the Indian girls started off at a great pace, as they barely let the Maldives settle on the ball. From the very first minute, Alex Ambrose’s girls laid siege on the opposition area.
Roja Devi looked dangerous on the day, and finally got the reward for her perseverance, as she received a pass inside the area, and calmly tucked it into the bottom corner, to score the first goal for India on the 16th minute.
This opened the proverbial floodgates, as India kept scoring at regular intervals against a hapless Maldives defence. Three minutes later, Karishma half-volleyed one from outside the box, to double the score for the young eves.
Another three minutes later, Maldives handed India yet another opportunity, as one of their defenders handled a cross inside the box. The referee had no option other than pointing to the spot. Captain Papki Devi calmly slotted the resulting penalty into the back of the net.
Soon after, Mariyammal made it 4-0, after she cut in from the right flank, and placed a left-footed rocket into the bottom corner.
On the 34th minute, Roja was alert to a loose clearance on the left flank, as she crossed it into Behra Soni, who found herself in front of perplexed defenders. She had enough time to aim and fire it into the goal. To the amazement of the Maldives girls, it was already 5-0 with more than 10 minutes of the first half yet to be played.
There was not much difference to the game after the Maldives got things underway post the half-time break, as India took just one minute to make it 7-0, when another Behra Soni shot, this time, from outside the box ended up in the bottom corner again.
Second half substitute Sangita Kumari also got in on the act as she nodded in a 56th-minute corner, while an intricate cross by Manish from the right flank forced an own goal, making the scoreline 8-0 in India’s favour by the 63rd minute.
From then on, India slowed down the tempo of their game, mostly passing it around the back-four. Any forays into the attacking third were rare, but the match was already done and dusted by then, as the young eves had already made it to the semis.
Having topped their group, India must now wait for the Group B match between Nepal and Bangladesh, in order to find out who they will face in the semifinal.
India Starting XI: Archana Arumugam, Kanchan Chanu, Manisha, Papki Devi (c), Roja Devi, Mariyammal, Behra Soni, Degio Achom, Maharabam Thahenbi, Kumari Asha, Karishma.
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