The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal, Manipur in title-clash

Chennai: Bitter rivals Manipur and Bengal set up a title clash posting contrasting wins in the semi-finals of the 11th national women’s football championship Sunday.

Manipur scored a confident 3-0 win over Bihar, while Bengal managed to hold on to a Swapna Guria goal, scored in the first half, to oust a fighting Kerala.

The final is slated to be held Tuesday.

Manipur did not have to exert themselves much though Bihar did manage to put up a semblance of fight briefly in the first half.

In the other match, Bengal forwards worked hard though the exchanges were pretty even during the first half. However, Bengal capitalised on a defensive lapse to go ahead in the 38th minute.

Kerala could have gone ahead twice in the first ten minutes. But five minutes into the match, Sabitha Poovatta muffed a good chance and in the 10th minute P. Sreelatha’s measured lob from just outside the box hit the cross-piece.

Eight time champions Manipur have made it a habit to appear in the final and are making their 12th appearance in the title clash, while Bengal, who have won the title twice, figure in the finals after a gap of one year.

But Manipur received a huge blow ahead of the big match as their star shooter Bala Devi will sit out of the final, picking up her second yellow card Sunday.

Devi was booked for returning to the playing area (after an injury) without seeking the permission of the referee.

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