The Indian women’s football team put up a valiant fight before going down 0-1 to Uzbekistan in their first match of the Turkish Women’s Cup in Alanya, Turkey on Wednesday.
An early goal by Uzbekistan’s Burhanova Malika (4th minute) made the difference as India struggled for the equaliser in the remainder of the game. Uzbekistan was by far the attacking of the two sides and the Indian defence, led by goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan had to toil hard to keep them at bay.
A 25th-minute substitution by India saw Jabamani Tudu replace Michel Castanha at the left-back position. India mounted a few attacks after the substitution, but the Uzbek defence was up to the task.
India women came out with more conviction in the second half with Dangmei Grace looking to use her long-range shooting abilities but to no avail. Defenders Dalima Chhibber and Sweety Devi came to India’s rescue mid-way through the second half with crucial clearances.
India had the golden chance to draw level with just six minutes from regulation time, but striker Anju Tamang missed the target from inside the penalty area. Soon after, Chhibber also failed to hit the target from close range. India’s head coach Maymol Rocky said the early goal proved to be the undoing for her team.
“We were unlucky to concede a goal early on, and that cost us in the end. Our girls showed a lot of heart and played really well against quality opposition like Uzbekistan,” said Rocky. “Perhaps if we had taken our chances, the result may have been different.