SAFF Women’s Championship 2022 football: India blank Maldives 9-0 to qualify for semis

Anju Tamang was the star of the match with four goals while Dangmei Grace scored a brace as the Indian women’s football team went top of the Group A standings.

By Olympics.com
Picture by AIFF

Defending champions India went through to the semi-finals of the SAFF Women’s Championship 2022 with a 9-0 win over the Maldives at the Dasharath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Saturday.

Striker Anju Tamang scored four goals, Dangmei Grace hit a brace while Priyangka Devi, Soumya Guguloth and Kashmina scored one each for India.

The Indian women’s football team had beaten Pakistan 3-0 in its opening game. The victory over the Maldives ensured that India would finish in the top two in Group A along with Bangladesh.

Five-time champions India will next face Bangladesh to determine who will finish atop Group A on Tuesday.

India were aggressive from the get-go against the Maldives. Anju Tamang was the team’s most involved player as her shot was cleared off the line and Dangmei Grace was thwarted one-on-one in the opening few minutes of the football match.

The duo combined a few minutes later but Anju Tamang could not score. She got a deserved goal in the 24th minute though.

The striker hit a shot from just outside the box on the left wing and it looped its way past Maldives’ goalkeeper Aminath Leeza to give India the lead.

Just before half-time, Priyangka Devi doubled India’s lead with a shot that went through the Maldives keeper and Anju Tamang scored her second right at the end of the half, showing good instincts to react first to a shot that had bounced off the bar.

Within 12 minutes of the restart, India had increased their lead to 5-0.

In the 55th minute, Ashalata Devi floated a pass forward and Dangmei Grace took it in her stride before rounding the keeper and scoring into an empty net to make it 4-0.

Two minutes later, substitute Soumya Guguloth got on the end of a cross from Ashalata Devi to score the team’s fifth goal.

India created several chances from thereon but did not manage to score any before a flurry of late goals.

Substitute Kashmina scored from outside the box after the Maldives goalkeeper had vacated her line before Anju Tamang completed a fantastic hat-trick with an unstoppable hit into the roof of the net.

Dangmei Grace then tried her luck from distance and it paid off as Aminath Leeza spilled the shot and it went into the net before Anju Tamang got her fourth and India’s ninth with a simple header in the final minutes.

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