- Twenty-time title winners Manipur secured the 21st Hero Senior National Women’s Football Championship title after eliminating Railways
- Crucial saves by Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini Devi during the penalty shootout turn the sides in their favour
- Winger Yangoijam Kiranbala in the fourth spot scored the crucial goal for Manipur
Manipur was crowned with the 21st Hero Senior Women’s NFC (National Football Championship) title ahead of overthrowing Railways in the final penalty shootout at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Thursday. The match went to penalties after numerous futile attempts made by both teams failed to score goals during regulation and extra time.
Goalkeeper of Manipur, Okram Roshini Devi made three saves leading the team to their 21st title at the aforementioned level. Oinam Bembem Devi, who coached the winning team and had achieved the national women’s title as a player, acknowledged the win to be a special moment for the entire team.
Oinam highlighted the fact that the girl played a wonderful game and she was immensely proud to see the team successfully defend the title.
Though Manipur held on to a dominating stature throughout the game, they were unable to break through the opponents, Railways who perpetuated their shape and discipline. Inability to penetrate emanated a consequent bunch of long-range efforts that caused no agitation or unrest in the opposition goalkeeper Shreemayee Samal.
Manipur had almost made it in the 90th minute when goalkeeper Samal had misapprehended the flight of a cross, however, she managed to bail out of the situation by defending the goal.
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Defending champions Manipur who had bagged the title twenty times were on the lookout to put up another magnificent performance facing Railways in the 125th Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship.
The semi-finals witnessed Railways edging past Mizoram and Odisha getting knocked down by Manipur. Reigning champions Manipur have been on a frenzy scoring an astonishing 29 goals so far, adding the two goals struck in the finale.
When the game drifted to extra time, players started to look tense and the physical strain had begun to reflect. Both the squads had to survive tie-breakers in the semi-finals to swarm into the finals and all players were getting shadowed by fatigue as they went down with cramps and muscle injuries. Both the team were aligned after the kick of the third spot wherein each side had missed one goal, scored one and succeeded in saving one. Manipur Goalkeeper Okram Roshini Devi triumphantly saved two more goals with winger Yangoijam Kiranbala scoring the fourth indispensable penalty to give a twist to the climax in favour of Manipur.