The Indian Women’s Team capped off their second victory in a row in a span of four days, defeating hosts Kyrgyz Republic 4-0 at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, on Friday, to seal qualification for Round 2 of the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Having defeated the hosts 5-0 in their first match earlier this week, India, despite being down to 10 players in the first half itself, exerted their dominance over the Kyrgyz Republic, with Sandhiya Ranganathan netting a brace, and Anju Tamang and substitute Renu scoring a goal each.
The Blue Tigresses got off to a good start, and it did not take them long to get the lead as Sandhiya scored in the 18th minute, beating two defenders before tucking her shot past the rival goalkeeper.
A few minutes later, India suffered a setback when Karthika Angamuthu was sent off for an off-the-ball challenge on Kyrgyz captain Aizhan Boronbekova.
However, that did not deter their resolve as Anju Tamang slammed it home on a half-volley, to double India’s lead in the 24th minute.
Thomas Dennerby, looking to strengthen the middle of the park after the red card, brought on holding midfielder Sangita Basfore in place of winger Soumya Guguloth, just a minute after the goal.
Anju and Sandhiya kept leading a flurry of attacks for India, coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but the score remained 2-0 as the teams headed inside for the breather.
India picked up where they left off in the second half, and Sandhiya soon scored her second of the night. Midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan surged upfield on the left and sent in a low cross that Sandhiya blasted into the top corner, to make it 3-0 in India’s favour.
Kyrgyz Republic, with the one-player advantage, were looking to stretch the Indian defence wide, a move Dennerby soon countered by bringing on speedy full-back Ranjana Chanu in place of Manisa Panna.
Another host of changes were introduced by Dennerby with 10 minutes of regulation time left, as Renu, Michel Castanha, and Dangmei Grace replaced Indumathi, Sangita, and Sandhiya.
That substitution made an instant impact as Renu headed in a corner by Dalima Chhibber, looping it over the opposition goalkeeper’s head, to make it 4-0.