Tigresses edge past Cheetahs in a hard-fought entertaining contest

Two early goals helped the Tigresses grind out a 2-1 victory in their match against Bembem Devi-coached Cheetahs in what was a closely-contested second match of the Hero U-17 Women’s Championship at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Monday. Amisha Baxla opened the scoring for the Tigresses in the 3rd minute and Karen Estrocio added to the lead in the sixth. Cheetahs rallied in the second-half and pulled a goal back through Reet Kashyap but they couldn’t find the equaliser.

  • Amisha Baxla put the Tigresses in front in the 3rd minute before setting up Karen Estrocio for a second three minutes later.
  • Cheetahs’ Durga K hit the crossbar early in the second-half.
  • Reet Kashyap made it 2-1 in the 66th minute to set up an enthralling finish to the match.

The Tigresses roared off the blocks and disturbed the scoreboard as early as in the 3rd minute with Amisha racing into the box after being set free on goal and placing her shot beautifully across Cheetah’s goalkeeper Anshika Anshika. Amisha was instrumental three minutes later again, as she turned provider this time with a beautiful cut back for Estrocio to slot home.

Two-nil down early on, Bembem’s Cheetahs tried to settle down in the game but Tigresses’ skipper Martina Thokchom’s ability to spread the ball around to release the wingers at a moment’s notice kept them pegged back. The Cheetahs, however, started clawing their way back into the contest as the game progressed and created a few half chances of their own.

Both teams showcased some commendable intent for the rest of the first-half and didn’t allow each other an inch of free space. Tigresses’ left winger Anju, in particular, looked impressive with some lung-bursting runs down the left wing and her close control stood out. For the Cheetahs, Reet and Saraswati Kumari put on robust displays after recovering from the early setbacks.

The Cheetahs came out as a reinvigorated unit in the second-half and tried to press for a goal, almost finding one through Durga K. The midfielder’s cracker of a shot seemed to have Tigresses goalkeeper Tanu beat, but unfortunately came out after rattling the crossbar.

Bembem’s charges did, however, find a deserved goal in the 66th minute. Reet’s looping long ranger found Tanu off her line and crept into the goal despite the Tigresses’ backtracking custodian managing to get her fingertips to it.

The Cheetah’s kept piling on the pressure for the remainder of the match, but the Tigresses defended in numbers to see off the match and claim all three points.

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