New Delhi: Lionesses began their U-17 Women's Championship campaign with an emphatic win over the Panthers in Kalyani, West Bengal on Monday with their midfielder Priyanka Sujeesh Pottekkat standing out.
Sudha Tirkey's own goal and goals from forward Lynda Kom Serto and Priyanka meant Alex Ambrose's Lionesses crushed Subhash Chakraborty's Panthers 3-0 in the first game of the one-week tournament.
The tournament is aimed at helping India select players for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020.
Lionesses was clearly the better team in the match as they troubled the Panthers defence throughout the match and could have ended up with more goals than they actually scored.
Their forward Sumati Kumari and midfielder Sunita Munda performed excellent on the two wings to find spaces at the back incessantly to leave the Panthers' central defence in tatters.
The Panthers were unable to cover up on the wings and Sumati and Sunita got behind their central defenders time and again to create a number of opportunities.
After the initial bit of possession, Panthers' captain Sudha turned Sunita's cross into her own net to give Lionesses the lead. While it was fortune that gave Lionesses their first goal, there was nothing fortunate about the other two.
In the 35th minute, the Panthers' keeper tried to pass the ball to her left back but Priyanka, who was pressing up high, managed to intercept the ball. She showed good control to dribble past a defender and passed the ball in the middle, where Lynda lobbed the ball in.
Determination level 💯 from Lionesses striker Priyanka. Catch the Hero U-17 Women's Championship on @hotstartweets - https://t.co/XCfYzktC5H#GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/qWREDtAhAx — Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 11, 2019
Lionesses' control over the ball was much better than the Panthers, who were unable to keep the ball for long and were guilty of wayward passes that hurt their cause even more.
The Lionesses went into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead but showed no signs of slowing down in the second half as well.
Lionesses' forward line and attacking midfielders played a few good one-twos but the finish eluded them until the 73rd minute when Priyanka got a well-deserved goal.
Priyanka received the ball near the half line and moved up and played a passed to her right. She quickly got behind the defender, who was trying to close her down but lost her focus when the pass was made, and received the ball back. She took a couple of touches to control and ball and move closer to the goal and then slotted the ball into the right bottom corner.
A well-deserved goal for Priyanka as the Lionesses seal the game against the Panthers. Follow the Hero U-17 Women's Championship LIVE on @hotstartweets and Jio TV.#GroundsKnowNoGender pic.twitter.com/GBnpayrymY — Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 11, 2019
In the 89th minute, Lionesses had a glorious chance to extend their lead and Priyanka flicked a brilliant ball to the far post but no one could head the ball in.
Lionesses will next play against Bembem Devi's Cheetahs at 7.30PM on Wednesday.