Bhubaneswar: Myanmar clinched the Hero Gold Cup crown in style, edging Nepal 3-1 in the final at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Friday. A brace from Yee Yee Oo, along with a brilliant effort from Win Theingi Tun was enough to down a spirited Nepal side, who scored in the 45th minute through Manjali Kumari.
The first half was a feisty affair, with both sides bagging one goal apiece and chances coming at a premium. However, the first came in the opening minute itself, after Nepal’s star striker Sabitra Bhandari broke free in the first minute and earned a corner. The resulting header was comfortably saved by the keeper.
Myanmar, who had defeated Nepal in the opening match of the tournament by a 3-0 scoreline, started to assert their dominance soon, creating two quick chances in the 10th and 17th minutes. The first saw Win Theingi miss a header from close range while in the second saw her create a crossing opportunity down the left, with the final ball chalked off for offside.
At the half-hour mark, Nepal looked resolute as they repelled everything that Myanmar threw at them, but four minutes later, Yee Yee Oo gave Myanmar the lead, with a powerful effort from inside the box that sailed into the top corner past the diving goalkeeper.
However, on the stroke of half time, Nepal grabbed a stunning equaliser through midfielder Manjali Kumari, who latched on to a loose ball inside the penalty area, controlled it on her chest and side-footed a volley into the side-netting – the first goal Myanmar conceded in the competition.
Both sides emerged onto the pitch after the break with renewed vigour and in the 53rd minute, Win Theingi put her side into the lead after some fine play. Controlling a cross from the left with her back to the goal, she turned in style and slammed the ball home.
Two soon became three as Yee Yee Oo added her second goal of the night and doubled her team’s advantage. In the 62nd minute, she put in a ball from the right that found the Nepal keeper off her guard and it sailed over her into the goal, thus securing a deserved victory for Myanmar.
Top Scorer: Sabitra Bhandari, Yee Yee Oo (4 goals)
Best Goalkeeper: Zar Zar Myint
Most Valuable Player: Win Theingi Tun