New Delhi: Lynda Kom Serto sparkled in the U-17 Women's Championship, scoring a brace and finished as the tournament's top scorer as the Lionesses crushed the Tigresses 7-2 to win the title in Kalyani, West Bengal on Sunday.
Lynda scored six goals in four matches in the tournament and ended as the highest goalscorer, two of which she added in the final.
Priya PV's Tigresses were no match to the Lionesses, coached by Alex Ambrose, as the tournament winners dominated the entire final and absolutely destroyed their opponents on the way to the title.
Lynda, Sumati Kumar, Priyangka Devi Naorem, Poonam and Priyanka Sujeesh Pottekkat shone in the final up front and completely outwitted the defence of the Tigresses. Quick passing, clever inroads and delicious crosses made it click for the Lionesses.The one-week tournament is aimed at helping selection matter for the Indian team for the U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020.
The Lionesses are in 7th heaven as they claim the Hero U-17 Women's Championship title with a thumping win.#GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/DTWXtAGBnP— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 17, 2019
After the victory, Ambrose said that he was happy with his team's performance but a lot of technical work was still needed.
"Scoring goals is good but I was happier with the performance and they did fantastically well. We are looking forward to developing them more.
"It is a team effort but it's good that the players up front are doing the job," Ambrose said.
The Lionesses coach added that the tournament had helped them "gauge performances".
"We need to work on a lot of technical things but it looks good as of now. The tournament has been fantastic to gauge performances and even scout the players."
India's U-17 Women's World Cup 2020 coach Thomas Dennerby singled out Lionesses' Sumati as the player who impressed him the most even though he felt there were many good players throughout the tournament.
"Really nice tournament. As everybody can see, lot of good footballers.
"If I have to pick one, Sumati, she did well for the Lionesses but a lot of players did well."
STORY OF THE FINAL
Lionesses were on top right from the start and they created their first chance as early as the fourth minute of the final. Lynda took the ball on the right flank and ran up the field, dribbled past two defenders to pass the ball to Priyangka whose shot went straight at the keeper.
In the 11th minute, the Tigresses showed some excellent passing football on the left flank when Amisha Baxla and Aveka Singh combined. Aveka got past her defender with a brilliant stepover and sent the ball in the middle but it was cleared out for corner.
Perhaps that move from the Tigresses was all they got out of the first half of the final as the floodgates opened for the Lionesses in the 17th minute.Lynda was released by Priyangka and the striker got around her defender and raced up the centre and smashed the left-footer home to give the lead to the Lionesses.
Lynda Kom runs through the defense and drills it past the keeper to get her 5th goal of the competition. What about her celebration? #GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/xCs9i4woR1— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 17, 2019
Just a minute later, Priyanka got on the scoreboard when her first touch found the back of the net. A beautiful through ball was put on the right flank from where Daisy Crasto put in a delightful grounded pass that Priyanka connected with perfectly.
With two goals in two minutes, the Lionesses had got up and running and there was no stopping them.
In the 20th minute, Tigresses' Karen Estrocio received a brilliant pass behind the defender, took a turn to get away but looses her footing at the wrong moment and shot the ball straight at the keeper.
Lionesses tripled their lead in the 34th minute when Priyangka slammed the ball home from distance.
Just three minutes later, Sumati Kumari got her first goal of the night with a stunning finish. Sumati was released slightly towards the left of the box, accelerated up front and from an acute angle, she shot it past the keeper, who had come off her line.
The Tigresses were simply outplayed as the teams went into the break with the Lionesses leading 4-0.
The story didn't change in the second half at all. Just five minutes into the second half, Lynda got her second of the night. Daisy outwitted Manisha on the left by holding and playing the ball up after showing that she might cut inside. She ran up and then delivered an inch-perfect cross towards the far post. Priyangka shot it for goal but a brilliant save from the keeper meant she was denied. But she immediately controlled the rebound and passed it to Lynda, who slotted it home.
In the 54th minute, Sumati got her second put the Lionesses 6-0 up. Kritina Devi Thounaojam made a stunning pass to Lynda on the left. Lynda went for a shot but the keeper palmed it away, only for Sumati to slot in the rebound.
Ambrose then decided to substitute Lynda and brought in Sai Sankhe and immediately, the tall and lanky striker got into the thick of things.
In the 63rd minute, Sai received a fantastic through pass from left and shot it at the goal but the keeper managed to parry it away.
In the 68th minute, Karen was released on the left but her shot came off the bar, denying the Tigresses of any sort of consolation.Just a minute later, Sai became the Super Sub and scored the Lionesses' seventh of the night. She was released up front and accelerated brilliantly with two defenders behind her. She then calmly chipped the ball over the keeper for her goal in the final.
Another beautiful run and an even better finish #GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/GJu4AilpnP— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 17, 2019
Tigresses got their consolation in the 76th minute through Nisha. Tigresses earned a free kick outside the box and executed a cheeky one. She took a touch from the free kick to go a couple of inches ahead but no one from the Lionesses wall closed her down. She slotted in a grounded one and the keeper was completely blinded and could not even react to the ball.
Five minutes later, Karen finally got her goal to get a second consolation goal for the Tigresses.
While it was the Lionesses' silky midfield and classy frontline which took all the limelight, it were their compact defence in Purnima Kumari, Nirmala Devi Phanjoubam, Kritina and Daisy that played a crucial role in their dominance right from the back.