Orissa yet again claim gold, Manipur silver

Jamshedpur, Feb 19 (PTI) Defending champions Orissaretained the title after edging past last year''s runners-upManpiur 2-1 in the women''s football final of the NationalGames at JRD Tata Sports Complex here today.

The bronze medal went to West Bengal, who outclassedTamil Nadu through a solitary first half goal.

Orissa, studded with some international players, wereaggressive right from the start and surged ahead in the 32ndminute through striker Pinky Bomal Magar who found the net offa cross from Sasmita Malik Assit.

Malik dodged past rival defenders and sent a measuredcrosspiece from left and Pinky fired a powerful right footerinto the net, giving no chance to Manipur custodian L RonibalaChanu.

Manipur players, who were eager to avenge last edition''sdefeat in Guwahati, regrouped after they trailed 1-0 andintensified the attack.

They came close hitting the target couple of minuteslater but the Orissa goalkeeper Swarnamayee Samal brilliantlypunched a mid-field free kick off L Asharani Devi.

The northeastern girls continued to mount pressure onOrissa camp and were awarded a croner after Samal punched outa powerful shot.

Samal again dodged Manipur players and punched out anaccurate corner kick from left flank in the first half, whichOrissa led 1-0.

Orissa''s forward Jabamani Soren doubled the lead in the67th minute though Asharani Devi reduced the margin forthrough a penalty, minutes later.

The win fetched Orissa a gold while Manipur had tocontent with a silver.

Earlier, West Bengal claimed bronze medal after defeatingTamil Nadu 1-0 in the play-off.

Striker Silpi Deb put West Bengal into the lead in the24th minute, when she dribbled past the rival defence toconvert Sujata Kar''s assist.

Trailing by a goal at the break, Tamil Nadu, in theirquest for the equaliser, went on the offensive in the secondhalf, but West Bengal''s strong defence stood its ground.

Tamil Nadu, who made the semi-final by virtue of having abetter goal difference after defending champions Orissathrashed Jharkhand 8-0 on Thursday, had a golden opportunityin the dying moment when striker R Suganya dribbled past thelone rival defender but her shot was way off the mark.

After the match, the Tamil Nadu team lodged a protest,accusing referee Tapan Ghosh of making wrong decisions, whichthey felt, prevented them from scoring.

Tamil Nadu Captain J Mahalakshmi was red carded afterthe match for misbehaving with the referee, while coach RInbamani felt that Deb''s goal should have been calledoff-side.

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