ISLAMABAD  - Mighty Indians brushed aside sorry Bangladeshis 5-1 to storm into the semifinals of the 3rd South Asian Women's Football Championship Saturday.

Ngangom Bala Devi scored two goals for India to take her tally to six goals in just two matches. Indians never looked in any sort of bother against a Bangladeshi side, which had enhanced their reputation after winning the first encounter against Afghanistan. Bangladeshis remained in the match throughout the first half by keeping strong Indian attack at bay.

Ngangom came close of scoring goal on number of occasions but brilliant defending and extra-ordinary goalkeeping prevented top scorer of the championship from breaking the deadlock. It was Indian midfielder Yumnam Kamla Devi who broke the deadlock in the injury time of the first half through a thunderous strike from 35 yards, which landed in the top corner of the goal leaving the Bangladeshi goalie a meager spectator and first half ended with India leading 1-0.

Indians returned in the field with new resolve in second half and put the Bangladeshi defence to sword. Just after three minutes of the play Indians doubled their lead through Mmandakini Devi. Indian attckers continued to put pressure on Bangladeshi eves and but Bangladeshi goalkeeper kept them at bay. In 57th minute, Indians were awarded a penalty for foul on Ngangom, who stepped forward and took the kick and calmly put the ball to make it 3-0.

Indians had to wait for another 19 minutes for the 4th goal, which was scored by Indumathi Kathiresan in the 76th minute. Mirona scored a wonderful goal in the 84th minute for Bangladesh to the much of delight to strong Bangladeshi support in the stands. But the joy was very short lived as in the 86th minute Ngangom scored her second and team’s 5th goal to complete the scoresheet. Now Bangladesh must have to beat Maldives for a place in the semifinals otherwise they had to pack their luggage.

While speaking to the media after the match Indian head coach Tarun Roy described her team’s performance satisfactory. When asked about Indians had made a habit of scoring majority of goals in the second half Tarun replied: “I read the first half and pass on instructions to my team in the second half, which they dully obliged and score more goals. We are the defending champions and we are here to take our title back. I am very satisfied with the arrangements made by PSB and PFF. We love to visit Pakistan. We were anxiously waiting for this tour and it is my utmost wish India and Pakistan should restore all sporting activities without any delays.” While sharing her views, top scorer of the championship Ngangom promised more goals to come. She also praised the beauty of Islamabad and hospitality of the people of Pakistan. Indians will play their final Group A match against Afghanistan on Monday.

In the second match Maldives edged out Afghanistan 1-0. Afghans despite enjoying overwhelming crowd support failed to take advantage of the situation and conceded the goal in the 28th minute of the first half. Goalkeeping heroics of Wida Zemarai kept them in the match/

It was expected Afghans would win this encounter as they had the services of international-based players but the match was one-sided affair as Maldives team was dictating the terms for the majority of the match, they were dully rewarded for the pressure in the 28th minute of the first half when Mariyam Rifa scored the only goal of the match. Maldives could have easily scored at least half a dozen goals had Wida was not in the goal, who made sure Afghans remain in the match till the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of the match. While speaking exclusively with The Nation after the match Wida, who was injured during the previous match said: “I was told not to play the match, but I came all the way from Sweden to represent my country. These minor injuries can't prevent me from the sheer love and passion I had for Afghanistan. I am bit disappointed, we should have played better, but people must understand how much it is difficult to play any sort of sports especially for the females in Afghanistan. But I am sure things would improve and by the passage of time, Afghan team would be a force to reckon with.”

While sharing her views Maldives skipper Farhuwa Zahir said: “it was a good game for us. Now we have a chance to force our way into the semifinals by beating Bangladesh. We didn't play well against Indians as we give too much respect and played defensive soccer. We have changed our strategy for this particular game and we would enter the do or die match against Bangladesh with different game plan and try to win the encounter.”