AMRITSAR: Tamil Nadu and Haryana won their semi-final fixtures against Railways and Odisha, respectively, to book their spots in the final of the Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championships, in Amritsar on Monday, June 26, 2023.
The final will take place on Wednesday, June 28, at 4:30 pm.
Tamil Nadu surprised one and all by defeating four-time finalists Railways 3-1 in the first semi-final of the day, while Haryana made secured themselves a spot in the summit clash for the first time ever, defeating Odisha 2-0 on penalties, after the match ended 1-1.
Indumathi masterclass for Tamil Nadu
The match between Tamil Nadu and Indian Railways was a battle of two former champions, with the team from the southern part of India winning by a comfortable margin.
The conditions at the GNDU Main Ground weren’t ideal because of the rain, but both teams fought relentlessly to come out on top.
The 2017-18 champions broke through the rival defence early in a rain-marred morning when Priyadharshini S headed home off a corner kick, leaving little chance for Railways custodian Rashmi Kumari, who missed the flight of the ball.
Tamil Nadu doubled their lead in the opening minutes of the second half when Railways’ defender, Supriya Routray, put the ball into her own net in an attempt to block a cross from the right.
Tamil Nadu forward Sandhiya P released a well-timed pass for Indumathi Kathiresan down the right flank, who put in a brilliant cross inside the box. Supriya tried to clear the ball, but her attempted clearance, unfortunately, landed inside the net.
Indumathi was a constant threat to the rival defence throughout the match and made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute. After receiving a pass from the middle of the park, Indumathi beat her marker on the left flank outside Railways’ penalty box and unleashed a brilliant right footer, which curled into the top corner.
Railways pulled one back in the added time of the second half when substitute Diparnita Dey scored from a rebound to make it 3-1.
Priyadharshini S was adjudged the Player of the Match.
Hooda’s penalty heroics lift Haryana to the finals
Haryana registered a jubilant penalty shootout win over Odisha in the second semi-final clash later in the day. The scoreline read 1-1 at the end of the 90 minutes and Haryana goalkeeper Shreya Hooda starred in the subsequent shootout.
The two sides looked evenly matched from the beginning of the game as they produced some end-to-end football. Haryana were forced to make an early change as Mona suffered a grievous injury. The forward was replaced in the 20th minute by Aarti.
The two sides enjoyed a fair share of ball possession in the first 30 minutes as they continued to fight the midfield battle. In the 36th minute, however, Ritu Rani produced a moment of sheer brilliance. The Haryana skipper stepped up to take a free-kick earned on the right flank in the rivals’ half and fired home from long range.
In the 57th minute, Odisha’s Subhadra Sahoo darted forward with a blistering pace. Well within the shooting range, the forward drove it powerfully, but her attempt brazed over the bar for a goal-kick. They finally pulled level terms in the 64th when Satyabati Khadia was brought down inside the box by Ritu Rani.
Odisha skipper Jasoda Munda stepped up to take the spot kick and managed to beat goalkeeper Shreya Hooda in the bottom right corner. The match headed into a penalty shootout as the scoreline remained 1-1 at the end of the regulation time.
Shreya Hooda went on to produce heroics in the shootout for Haryana as she managed to parry away shots from Jasoda Munda, Satyabati Khadia and Malati Munda, while Juli Kishan missed the target completely. Santosh and Renu Rani scored for Haryana. Hooda was rightfully adjudged the Player of the Match for her outstanding performance between the sticks.