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Indian women win 4th consecutive SAAF Women's Championship

Indian women celebrate after scoring a goal
 

India won their fourth consecutive SAFF Women's Championship title after beating Bangladesh 3-1 in the final of the 4th SAFF Women's Championship at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Wednesday.

Dangmei Grace opened the scoring early on before goals from Sasmita Malik and Indumathi in the second half gave the Indian women the title.

India have now won four consecutive SAFF Championship's and in the process, the team now stay unbeaten in 19 matches having won 18 and drawn one.

India drew first blood in the 12th minute with Dangmei Grace opening the scoring. It set the tone for the match as Indian dominated from there on. The goal was scrappy and Bangladesh were on the back foot right away.

In the first 20 minutes, India had earned 4 corners and Bala Devi was instrumental in creating chances at will. India should have taken the lead in the 17th minute when Bala set Kamala Devi free, but Kamala's attempt of the free header narrowly missed the mark.

Indian lost their concentration late in the first half as Bangladesh withstood the storm, regrouped, and eventually equalised in the 40th minute through Shopna. The equaliser meant the pressure was back on India as the first half ended 1-1.

The second half began with India on the attack, playing with higher intensity. They pressed high and hard as Bangladesh depended mostly on counter-attacks. The goal came in the 60th minute when the Bala was pushed inside the box as the referee pointed to the spot. Sasmita Malik, 2016 AIFF Player of the Year, stepped up and made it 2-1, neatly converting the spot-kick. Seven minutes later Bangladesh keeper Sabina Akhtar misjudged a harmless Indumathi shot from long range and the ball rolled in to give India a two goal cushion with just over 20 minutes left to play.

Sabina hid her face in her gloves while the Indian girls celebrated. The lead was eventually too steep a mountain to climb for Bangladesh as the Indian women saw the game out to lift their fourth consecutive SAFF Women's Championship title.

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