New Delhi: Lionesses eased into the summit clash of the U-17 Women's Championship at the Kalyani Stadium in West Bengal after they thrashed Bembem Devi's Cheetahs 6-1 in their second match of the tournament on Wednesday.
With the win, Lionesses set up the final with Tigresses, who defeated the Panthers 5-2 earlier in the day to book their spot in the final.
The tournament is aimed at helping India select players for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020.
Alex Ambrose's Lionesses was clearly the better team as the Cheetahs failed to match their precision passing and game flow, even though they did manage to keep a hold on their scoring for the first half.
Lionesses was the dominating side right from the start and had about 70 per cent of the ball possession. Sumati Kumari was a menace for the Cheetah defence as she kept making darting runs on the left flank and tried to cut inside or put in a cross at every given opportunity.
The Lionesses made all the domination count in the 22nd minute and who else but Sumati gave them the lead. It was once more that trademark runs of her on the left after which she cut inside and passed the ball to Priyanka Sujeesh Pottekkat in the middle. Priyanka shot was saved by the keeper but Sumati struck home the rebound.
Just five minutes, Lynda Kom Serto doubled their lead with a stunning strike. She received a simple pass and out of nothing, Lynda unleashed a stunner into the right side of the goal.
Cheetahs, however, did not back down as they kept trying to make inroads, only for the finishing touch to allude them. It changed in the 31st minute when Priyanka Kashyap latched on to a misplaced pass from the Lionesses and struck a delicious curler into the right corner to reduce the gap to 2-1.
The Lionesses restored their two-goal lead just three minutes later when Shikly Devi Hemam scored off a penalty. Sumati Kumari make one of those runs once more and was dribbling pass five defenders when she was brought down in the box. Hemam stepped up from the spot and drilled the ball into the left bottom corner.
The first half scoreline read 3-1 in favour of the Lionesses.
The second half saw a cagey beginning where the Lionesses found it difficult to find clear-cut spaces to create chances. The Cheetahs held their shape well and restricted Lionesses to just passing the ball around.
However, the Lionesses found the breakthrough in the 72nd minute and then, the floodgates opened.
In the 72nd minute, Priyangka Devi Naorem completed a one-two and then found the top-right corner to increase her team's lead to 4-1.Seven minutes later, Lynda scored her second before substitute Sai Sankhe wrapped up the proceedings one minute from the end of normal time when she found the back of the net from outside the box upon seeing the keeper off her line.
Sai Sankhe adds the icing on the cake for the Lionesses with a long-range strike in the Hero U-17 Women's Championship clash against the Cheetahs! #GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/4sOEoE3l0K— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 13, 2019