Manipur defeated hosts Odisha on Monday by a 2-1 margin in Cuttack to lift the National Championships for a whopping 19th time.
The final, held at the Barabati Stadium, was a nail-biting affair. After a tense start, Manipur took the lead thanks to captain Bala Devi, who found the net in the 45th minute. Soon after the break, Irom Prameshwori Devi doubled her team’s lead with a goal in the 50th minute.
The hosts fought hard to get back in the game were rewarded with a goal nine minutes from time through midfielder Arati Sethi. However, Manipur defended well to hold on for the win.
Both sides came into the final on the back of two hard-fought matches in the semi-finals. Manipur had got the better of the Railways team 4-3 in a penalty shootout. Odisha defeated defending champions Tamil Nadu in a thrilling contest that ended 4-3, with the hosts finding the winner in extra-time.