Manipur stun Kerala, reach Rajmata Jijabai Trophy final

Manipur stun Kerala, reach Rajmata Jijabai Trophy final

Manipur, the record 21-time champions, defeated defending champions Kerala in the Senior Women’s National Football Championship semifinal at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata on Monday. The highly anticipated clash saw Manipur bounce back from a surprising group stage defeat against Haryana to secure their spot in the final.

Dangmei Grace, Manipur’s star forward, proved to be the catalyst for her team’s success. In the 35th minute, Grace used her blistering pace to latch onto a long ball from right back Kritina Devi. She then curled in a precise cross, which Sibani Devi met with a towering header to give Manipur the lead. The opening goal left Kerala’s defence in disarray, and Manipur capitalised on their nerves just before half-time.

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Grace once again showcased her skills, making a dashing run down the right flank and leaving the Kerala defence in her wake. She cut the ball back into the danger zone, where Bala Devi was waiting to slot it home, making it 2-0 in the 45th minute. The two-goal deficit proved too much for Kerala to overcome in the second half, as Manipur held firm to secure their place in the final.

Manipur’s victory not only ended Kerala’s hopes of retaining the Rajmata Jijabai Trophy but also served as a reminder of their dominance in Indian women’s football. With Grace in scintillating form and a solid defensive unit, Manipur will be confident of adding yet another title to their already impressive collection.

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The 21-time champions will now await the outcome of the second semifinal between Bengal and Haryana to discover their opponents for Wednesday’s showpiece match. The final promises to be an exciting encounter as Manipur aims to lift the trophy for an incredible 22nd time.

Football enthusiasts across the nation will eagerly anticipate the outcome of this thrilling tournament, which has showcased the best of Indian women’s football talent. Manipur’s stunning performance against the defending champions has set the stage for a captivating final, where they will look to further cement their legacy as one of the most successful teams in the history of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship.

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As the tournament reaches its climax, fans and players alike will be on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the final whistle that will crown the champions of the Rajmata Jijabai Trophy.

With Manipur’s rich history and Kerala’s determination to bounce back, the stage is set for an unforgettable finale to this prestigious event in Indian women’s football.

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