Favourites India began their campaign in the SAFF Women Championship 2019 with a crushing 6-0 win over Maldives in their Group B opener at Sahid Rangashala, Biratnagar, Nepal on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
Sanju struck a brace while Gracie Dangmei, Sweety Devi, Indumati Katheresan and Ratan Bala Devi scored apiece for the defending champions in the one-sided match.
Dangmei capitalised on a defensive error to place the ball home and put India 1-0 ahead in just eighth minute of the contest.
Sweety doubled the lead in the 13th minute when she collected a cross of Dangmei inside the box and chipped in on the right corner of the post.
Indumati made it 3-0 in the 22nd minute with a left-footer before Sanju scored her first goal of the afternoon in the 27th minute from the right side.
Rata Nala Devi struck from a free kick in the injury time of the first-half as India took a decisive 5-0 lead during the break.
A relaxed India preserved their energy for the later part of the competition allowing Maldives a breathing space in the second half before a stunner by Sanju from 25 yards out in the 90th minute completed the rout.
Later at the post-match briefing, Sanju gave credit to the team effort for this emphatic win. She said, “I am really happy that we have won this match by six goals. It was a total team effort. This match has boosted our confidence and hope to carry this form throughout the tournament.”
The win all but confirmed India’s place in the semi-final of the tournament from a three-team group, which also Included Sir Lanka.
India will play against Sri Lanka in their next match on March 17.
Hosts Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan are competing in Group A.
The fifth edition of the tournament will run until March 22.