ISLAMABAD - Ngangom Bala Devi slammed first hat-trick of the event to help defending champions India thrash Maldives 8-0 in their 3rd South Asian Women’s Football Championship first match of Group A here at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Jinnah Stadium Thursday.

Goal-scoring machine Ngangom was in ruthless form as she scored four goals to help India inflict a heavy defeat on Maldives. Surprisingly, despite dominating the entire first half, Indians just managed to score one goal. Excellent defending by superb Maldives goalie denied Indians from taking early lead. The breakthrough finally came in the 24th minute, when Ngangom scored the opening goal of the match. The first half ended with Indians leading 1-0.

Excited Indians scored the second goal in the very first minute of the second half with Ngangom hitting second goal in the 46th minute. Indians once again looked off color till the 64th minute, when Yumnam Kamla Devi scored her first and team’s third goal. Ngangom then step forward to complete her hat-trick in the 72nd minute, as she scored her fourth and team’s fifth goal in the 74th minute. The goals were scored thick and fast in the later stages of the match, as Oinam Bembem Devi scored the sixth in 76th minute, Yumnam completed her brace in the 85th minute, before the score line was completed in the 90th minute, when Jvoti Ann Burrett scored her first and team’s eighth goal.

Talking to media after the match, Indian skipper Oinam said: “We are eyeing to lift the championship title. I am very satisfied with the arrangements and hospitality provided by Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). We love our stay in Pakistan, as people are so caring while the security and other arrangements are up to the mark. We are also enjoying meal at Allama Iqbal Hostel.”

In the second and last encounter of the day, Srimatai Krishna Rani hammered hat-trick to help Bangladesh rout Afghanistan 6-1. Despite having tremendous crowd support, Afghans failed to deliver. Their all-out support kept Afghans in the match right throughout the first half, and they took lead in the 23rd minute through Marjan, who scored from 30 yards from a thunderous strike to send wild celebrations among Afghan fans. Afghan resistance finally ended in the 34th minute when Maynumrama equalised after beating two defenders and diving goalie. Bangladesh didn’t have to wait for the second goal, as superb strike by Srimatai put them ahead in the 36th minute. The first half ended with Bangladesh leading 2-1.

Bangladesh lived up to the expectations in the second half, as they scored the third goal in the 47th minute through Srimatai and kept on piling pressure on Afghans. The pressure paid off in the 62nd minute when Sabina Khatun scored the fourth goal, while Srimatai completed her hat-trick in the 64th minute to complete the rout. In the 72nd minute, when Afghanistan goalie was trying to save the goal, she managed to put the ball out of the net, but hit her head with the goal post. Blood started pouring, and she was rushed to the hospital, where she had two stitches to her head and was in stable condition till filing of this report. She was replaced with Nadia Gudoos, who also played well and guarded the goal well and kept Bangladeshi strikers at bay without conceding any further goals.

Today (Friday), the first match of Group B will be played between Sri Lanka and Bhutan at 11am, while the second will be between hosts Pakistan and Nepal at 2:30pm. Pakistan must have to win the match to stay alive in the event, otherwise, they will be out from semifinals race.

For the third day in running, not a single PFF official was present on the site. The journalists were finding it really difficult to perform their professional duties. Organising committee secretary Wing Commander (r) Perviaz Saeed Mir was lending alien treatment to media persons and was not ready to help them out. Realising the gravity of the situation, tournament media committee chairman M Irfan Niazi came to the rescue and provided players list, score sheets and other relevant help.

RISJA president Mohsin Ali has requested PFF secretary Col (r) Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi to take notice of Pervaiz Mir’s rude and unsporting behavior and conduct an inquiry against him. It is the image of the country at stake, so such persons should be kept away, as international media is very much present at the venue and already whispering about pathetic arrangements of the organizers. This will send a negative signal to the world community, so an immediate action on part of the PFF secretary is need of the hour.