India continued their supremacy in the South Asian region winning the title of the SAFF Women's Championship with a comfortable 3-1 win over hosts Nepal in the final at the Sahid Rangsala in Biratnagar yesterday.
The fifth title in five editions shows how far India are ahead of the others in the region. The win extended India's unbeaten streak in the competition to 23 matches as they have won 22 of those matches, drawing only once.
This time, hosts Nepal dreamt of winning the maiden title following some good performances in recent times. The Nepalese women had in fact beaten India 1-0 in a four-nation tournament last month, but the youthful India proved that defeat was an anomaly by beating the hosts comfortably in front of a full-house crowd in Biratnagar.
Dalima Chhibber, who was adjudged the best player of the tournament, gave India the lead in the 26th minute with a 25-yard free-kick which sailed over the head of the opposition goalkeeper. The Nepalese, who had brushed aside Bangladesh 3-0 in semifinals, hit back seven minutes later, courtesy of a clever header from star striker Sabitra Bhandari.
But Grace Dangmei, availing a defence-splitting through-pass from Sandhiya Ranganathan, darted into the box to place home in the 63rd minute as India regained the lead. Anju Tamang wrapped up victory, firing home Jabamani Tudu header in the 78th minute.