Manipur overcome Maharashtra in a trilling 5-4 match played at Raia Panchayat Ground, Raia.
Manipur opened the scoring with their ace striker and captain, N. Ratanbala Devi in the 9th min with a good strike at goal. Maharashtra stunned by the early goal, regrouped quickly and scored a goal in the 12th min with the boots of Bhagyashree Dalvi to restore parity.
Kasmina and N. Ratanbala Devi combined really well for the 3rd straight match in this ongoing Junior National Championship and were a class apart upfront for a strong Manipur side boasting of 10 International players in their side who have represented Team India in the past. The striking duo of Kashmina and Ratanbala combined to score 3 quick goals in the 18 min, 24 min and 28min of play to give Manipur a commanding 4-1 lead in just under 30 minutes of play.
The 3 quick goals which included a hat-trick for N. Ratanbala Devi stunned Maharashtra but they slowly started to get a grip of their gameplay and their dependable midfielder Smriti Girish started pushing the ball forward into the oppositions half. Maharashtra’s resilient efforts bore fruit and Bhagyashree Dalvi pulled one back for Maharashtra in the 39 min for a halftime score of 4-2 in favour of Manipur.
Coming out of the half-time break, Maharashtra seemed to have one clear vision and that is to attack the opposition’s goal. The whole team had a different level of energy and zeal to get into the oppositions half and put tremendous pressure on the Manipur backline and goalkeeper. The captain of Maharashtra Pooja Dhamal scored a goal in the 56 min to bring Maharashtra closer with a score line of 4-3 in favour of Manipur.
The goal made the match a very interesting affair with both teams working extra hard to get a control of the match. Maharashtra kept pressing for an equalizer and did make some good attempts at goal but Manipur’s backline stood strong and the mid-fielders started playing defensive half positions roles to thwart all attacks made by Maharashtra.
With Maharashtra making all efforts to find the all-important equalizer started leaving big gaps in their defense and one such lapse was exploited by Manipur with a good counter attack goal by Kashmina in the 79 min giving Manipur a comfortable 5-3 lead with just over 10 minutes left on the clock. Maharashtra did not back down and kept moving forward.
There was good crowd support for Maharashtra and they kept urging them to move forward. Maharashtra managed to pull one goal back with a goal from Jyoti Mehra in the 90th min but it was a little too late for Maharashtra and Manipur walked away deservedly victorious with the final score of 5-4.
Maharashtra now plays Bihar on the 14th of Oct at 7:30 am at Rosary Sports Complex at Navelim and it is poised to be an interesting match with Bihar boosting of confidence having overcome a strong Jharkhand team earlier today.
Manipur competes against Jharkhand on the 14th of Oct at 7:30 am at Raia Panchayat Ground, Raia. So far, Manipur has appeared to be the team to beat with their highly disciplined play and strong frontline attacking duo of N. Ratanbala Devi and Kashmina leading in goals tally and created opportunities at goal in this championship.
Final Score: Manipur 5- 4 Maharashtra
Goal Scorers for Manipur:
N.RATANBALA DEVI (9 min, 18 min, 28 min)
KASHMINA (24min, 79 min)
Goal Scorers for Maharashtra:
BHAGYASHREE DALVI (12 min, 39 min)
POOJA DHAMAL (56 min)
JYOTI MEHRA (90 min)