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South Asian Games: Bala Devi grabs brace as India mauls Maldives 5-0

Bala Devi grabbed a brace as the Indian women’s football team mauled Maldives 5-0 in their opening game of the 13th South Asian Games in Pokhara on Tuesday.

Apart from Bala, Dangmei Grace, Manisha and Jabamani Tudu — all scored a goal apiece to hand India three points at the Pokhara Stadium.

It only took five minutes for the Maymol Rocky-coached side to take the lead through Grace, who rifled in a shot from the right flank.

Bala, who returned last week from a trial with Scottish club Rangers WFC, scored two goals in quick succession to put India in a commanding position.

In the 25th minute, she latched on to a pass from Jabamani from the left flank to score. Eight minutes later, she was on the end of a cross from substitute Manisha – making no mistake with the finish.

India went into the lemon break leading by three goals.

The defending champions then scored two more goals in two minutes in the closing moments of the game. Manisha powered home a goal with skipper Ashalata Devi providing the assist in the 87th minute and just a minute later, Jabamani added the fifth as she headed the ball past the keeper from Manisha’s lofted pass.

The win puts India on top of the points table with hosts Nepal grabbing a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the day.

India will now face Sri Lanka on Thursday.

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