India fought brilliantly in the first half but eventually, Brazil’s quality shone through as the South American giants won 6-1 in the international friendly in Manaus on Friday (Thursday night in Brazil).

It was the first match of the four-nation international tournament also featuring Chile and Venezuela.

There was a memorable goal for Manisha Kalyan in the first half, some great saves by goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan and in the end, a chance for Ashalata Devi and Co to be a part of the farewell moments for Formiga, the legendary Brazilian who bid farewell to the game.

India conceded a goal within the first minute but equalised in the seventh thanks to a brilliant solo effort down the flank by Manisha. The visitors even had a great chance to take the lead in the first half despite Brazil dominating possession and fashioning good chances. But not much before the interval, the pressure paid for the hosts and at half-time it was Brazil 2-1 India. Sanju also had a chance make it 2-2 in the minutes before the half-time whistle.

The second half saw Brazil take control as the tired legs of the Indian defence started making a few more mistakes. The substitutions helped Brazil too and they scored in regular intervals to eventually win 6-1. Chauhan came up with some great saves at the end to keep the scoreline at that, even denying the perfect farewell moment for Formiga, who came on as a substitute, with a reflex stop in the dying minutes.

Captain of the starting XI Debinha had put the 2007 World Cup runners-up in the lead in the very first minute of the match. Giovana Costa put Brazil in the lead again in the 36th minute to give the home side the advantage at the breather.

Brazil, however, scored four more goals in the second half through Ariadina Borges (52nd), Kerolin Ferraz (54th), Geyse Ferreira (76th) and Ariadina Borges (81st) to win the match

India play Chile (November 29) and Venezuela (December 2) next.

The Indian women then had the chance to soak in the occasion as the most-capped player in Brazil’s history, 43-year-old Formiga bid farewell after a storied career including seven World Cup and Olympics appearances, officials said Tuesday.

Formiga, who left Paris Saint-Germain in June to sign with Sao Paulo FC until December 2022, is the only player to have taken part in all seven editions of the women’s Olympic football tournament.

The legendary number 8 won two silver medals (2004 and 2008), and was still in the starting line-up for this year’s Tokyo Games, where Brazil lost to Canada in the quarter-finals.

When she came off mid-match that day, Formiga was replaced by a player 23 years her junior.

Formiga, whose nickname means “ant,” was born Miraildes Maciel Mota in the northeastern city of Salvador in 1978.

At the time, it was still illegal for women in Brazil to play football, a sport deemed “incompatible with their nature” under a 1941 law that was repealed in 1979.

She made her debut with the national team in 1995, at age 17.


(With PTI and AFP inputs)