Pokhara (Nepal), Dec. 9: The Indian women's football team won its third consecutive gold medal at the South Asian Games after beating hosts Nepal 2-0 in the summit clash here on Monday.
Bala Devi was the star of the show again as she struck a brace on either side of half time to guide India to a comfortable victory over the home side in the final. The 29-year-old striker also ended as the top-scorer of the tournament, netting five goals in four matches.
India went on the offensive from the very start, as the likes of Sangita Basfore and Ratanbala Devi dominated proceedings from the middle of the park. Ratanbala fetched the first clear-cut chance for India as she connected a Ranjana Chanu cross but her shot flew over the crossbar.
India goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, who has had a fantastic tournament by not conceding a single goal in five matches, turned provider when she found Bala, with a long ball upfield. The mercurial striker duly converted the chance to give India the lead in the 18th minute.
India had another chance around the half-hour mark, when a Ranjana corner was headed down by captain Ashalata Devi towards Sandhiya, but the latter was flagged offside. Aditi made a couple of impressive saves on either side of the half-time break to keep India in the lead.
Head coach Maymol Rocky soon brought on Manisha in place of Sandhiya, and the move had instant impact. An intricate move was converted into a chance by Ratanbala, who played Bala through on goal.
Bala finished off the chance to score her second goal of the match in the 56th minute. The Indians kept dominating the game even after taking the 2-0 lead and the Nepalese were unable to create chances.
Source: PTI & AIFF