India lose to Uzbekistan in first match of Turkish Women’s Cup

NEW DELHI: The Indian Women’s Team came up short in their first match of the Turkish Women’s Cup against Uzbekistan, as they lost by a narrow 0-1 margin on Wednesday, February 27. India Head Coach Maymol Rocky believes that the early goal proved to be the undoing of her team, as Uzbekistan bagged the win.

“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 Maymol. “Perhaps if we had taken our chances, the result may have been different.”

Despite the loss, Maymol took heart from the fact that the team has improved a lot in the last couple of years. “A couple of years back (in April 2017) Uzbekistan had defeated us 7-1. Compared to that, this performance is much better. We will take the positives from this match, and look to iron out the mistakes before our next game against Turkmenistan,” she added.

Uzbekistan got off to an early start after the match kicked-off as Burhanova Malika put the Central Asian nation in the lead in the fourth minute. This provided a lot of momentum to the Uzbek attack, but the defence, along with India keeper Aditi Chauhan, managed to keep them at bay in the early exchanges after the goal.

A 25th-minute substitution by India saw Jabamani Tudu replace Michel Castanha at the left-back position. India mounted a few attacks after this substitution, but the Uzbek defence managed to negotiate them.

The Indian eves came out with more conviction in the second half, with Dangmei Grace looking to use her long-range shooting abilities. Defenders Dalima Chhibber and Sweety Devi came to India’s rescue mid-way through the second half, as they made crucial clearances.

India had the golden chance to draw level with just six minutes of regulation time left on the clock, but striker Anju Tamang missed the target from inside the penalty area. Soon after, Chhibber also failed to hit the target from close range, before the referee brought the match to an end.

India Starting XI: Aditi Chauhan; Sweety Devi, Ashalata Devi, Michel Castanha, Dalima Chhibber; Sangita Basfore (C), Ratanbala Devi, Sanju; Dangmei Grace, Manisha, Indumathi.

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