India clinched their fourth straight SAFF Women’s Championship title with a controlled display to beat Bangladesh 3-1 in Siliguri on Wednesday.
Dangmei Grace’s opener was equalised against the run of play by Bangladesh’s Sirat Jahan Shopna. India scored twice in the space of five minutes in the second half. Sasmita Malik scored from a penalty and Indumati Kathiresan landed the third goal for her side.
The early exchanges saw a series of fouls committed by both sets of players. Despite not able to capitalise from dead-ball opportunities, the Indians brought an early lead with Dangmei Grace burying the ball into the net from close range.
Grace was easily the best player in the first half, causing the Bangladesh defence plenty of problems on the flanks with her pace.
The triumvirate of Kamala Devi, Kathiresan and Malik settled into the contest and skipper Bala Devi too, was controlling play from deep. Out of nowhere, the hosts conceded with Shopna leveling scores close to the half-time whistle.
Indians came out guns blazing in the second half, but lacked bite in the final third. At the hour mark, India regained their lead from the penalty spot after Bala Devi was brought down – Malik calmly slotted the ball past Sabina Akter.
Minutes later, Kathiresen’s persistence paid off as Akter made made a mess of a regulation take and the ball rolled into the net. India did not cease control from there and were happy to play keep-ball, and romp to their fourth straight title.
India 3 (Dangmei Grace, Sasmita Malik, Indumathi Kathiresan) beat Bangladesh 1 (Sirat Jahan Shopna)