Chennai: Last year’s runners-up Orissa crashed out of the 11th national women’s football championship after losing 1-2 to Kerala in a crucial group B quarter final league match Tuesday.
Defending champions Manipur became the first team to book a semi-final berth after beating Punjab 3-1 in group A. Manipur had it easy despite missing 11 players who were assisting India in the AFC championship in Malaysia. Phajabi Devi (16th minute), Lokeshori Devi (57th) and Sandhya Rani Devi (64th) scored for Manipur while Sharanjit Kaur (31st) got Punjab’s goal.
It was a bitter end for the Orissa women who led 1-0 at half-time, thanks to a 26th minute-strike from Aruna Dibyadarshini, but let in two goals at the fag end. Kerala, equalised in the last minute through Angel Adolphes and surged ahead through substitute T. Sheeja in injury time.
Orissa completed their engagements with one point from their draw against Goa, who take on Kerala (3) Thursday to decide the group winners.
Kerala, who had successfully appealed to the technical committee for scheduling Tuesday’s match in the morning on the plea that they had played their earlier two matches in hot and humid conditions in the afternoon, fully capitalised on the change.