Islamabad: Indian women's football team routed Nepal 6-0 in the summit clash of the 3rd SAFF Championship to notch up their third title on the trot and maintain their supremacy in the regional tournament here on Friday.
Bala Devi scored four goals (39th minute, 40th, 51st 90+2) to take her tally to 16 -- the highest in a single edition of the championship. Kamala Devi (25th) and Prameshwori Devi (47th) were the other goal scorers.
Nepal, who lost in the finals on all three occasions, tried to put up a stiff resistance in the opening stages but were breached just after the first quarter with Kamala latching on to a neat pass from Prameshwori to break the deadlock.
Nepal got all their force to man the backline and bottle up Bala in particular. But the goal-machine from Manipur soon got into the act with a delectable volley in the 39th minute to double her tally one minute later. It was 3-0 at halftime. India showed no mercy on their familiar foes, scoring three more goal after the breather.
There was no stopping Bala as she completed her hat-trick from close range at the start of the second half. She then stabbed home her fourth at the injury time, this time from a Premi Devi through ball. In between Bala's exploits, Prameshwori curled one in from the top of the box.
Just to measure the extent of India's supremacy in the tournament, they plundered a total of 36 goals in the five matches they played, conceding only one against Bangladesh.
All India Football Federation President Praful Patel congratulated the Indian women's team in retaining the SAFF Championship.
"Congratulations Girls. This triumph shows that there's no dearth of talent as far as women's football in India is concerned. All of you make us proud. Congratulations to all the players and the support staff," he stated.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das also congratulated the team on the victory. "Keep up the spirit. Congratulations. The victory further emphasises AIFF's keenness to develop women's football in India. The Senior National Women's Championship conducted earlier this year opened up the pool of talent and the results are evident. We now look forward for Indian women squads to further make an impact at the AFC level."