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Manipur regain title

Golaghat, May 12: Fifteen times champion Manipur regained the title in the 20th Senior National Womenís Football Tournament, beating defending champions Odisha 3-1 in the final at Golaghat District Sports Association ground here today.

Manipur, considered the womenís football powerhouse of the country, maintained dominance throughout the match right from the word go. They took an early lead in the third minute with striker Ng Bala Devi converting a brilliant pass from the midfield. Bembem Devi increased the lead with another goal in the 20th minute. Manipur maintained the lead with the opposition failing to break the ice in the first half.

The lead was consolidated by Ng Bala Devi with her second goal in the 55th minute.

Odisha failed to capitalise on a few opportunities which came their way. Though they managed to invade the Manipur territory on a few occasions, poor finishing let them down.

However, Sakina Nesa finally managed to return one goal to reduce the margin to 1-3 in the final minute of the match.

Bala Devi was adjudged the best player of the match.

Odisha had defeated Jharkhand 3-0 while Manipur crushed Delhi 7-0 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

The prize distribution ceremony was attended by president of Assam Football Association Hemendra Nath Brahma, secretary Ankur Dutta, director of the national team, Subhankar Mukherjee, manager of senior womenís national team Indu Choudhury and Golaghat superintendent of police Shiladitya Chetia, among others.

Talking to The Telegraph, Tarun Roy, coach of Indian junior menís football team-cum-selector for Indian senior womenís team, said six national selectors, deployed in the meet, have selected a total of 50 players from the tournament to select the national team for the Asian Games. The camp of the selected players is likely to be held in Siliguri, he added.

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