D Grace nets twice to steer Manipur to semis

IMPHAL27th Sep: Dangmei Grace scored twice as Manipur eased their way into the semifinals of the 24th Senior Women’s National Championship with a 4-1 rout of Punjab on Thursday. Three of Manipur’s goals came in the first half as the state women got off to a strong start with an early opener from Dangmei Grace. She capitalised on a well-timed pass from Umapati to put her side ahead three minutes into regulation.

The state squad were on the attacking mode right from the kickoff and never looked threatened by their opponents in their first-half exchanges. Constant attacks after their opener yielded another goal in the 22nd minute. It was Grace again on target as she connected with a fine cross from Ratanbala to send the ball into the net, taking her team to a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Towards the end of the first period, Grace set up Ng Bala to score their third goal in the 42nd minute, while Punjab were kept off the scoreboard throughout the first 45 minutes. After the break, Punjab reduced the deficit through T Purnima. She scored in the 61st minute what would prove to be their only goal of the game. Despite their momentum dwindled in the second half, Manipur still dominated proceedings and their victory was beyond doubt when Ratanbala dispatched a perfect, powerful drive into the top corner from a long distance in the 70th minute to put her team back to three goals lead and ensured they ran out dominant winners.

Following the result, Manipur will now meet Railways in the semifinal on Saturday, September 29.

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