Indian women lose to Belarus 1-2 in friendly
New Delhi: The Indian women’s soccer team’s campaign in Uzbekistan ended with a 1-2 loss to Belarus in the second friendly in Tashkent.
Maymol Rocky’s India had previously lost the opening game of the two-game friendly series to a much higher-ranked Uzbekistan 0-1 in extremely cold and windy conditions on April 5.
After a fruitless first half where the Indian team defended fiercely, Belarus, ranked three places behind India in the world rankings, took the lead thanks to a penalty from Shuppo Nastassia, before Pilipenka Hanna doubled the ‘advanced. For visitors, Sangita Basfore, skipper on the tour of Turkey in February this year, pulled one off later.
India started off at a high pace and almost took the lead against Belarus, 56th in the third minute, when Soumya Guguloth’s powerful shot from outside the box hit the crossbar. Forward Pyari Xaxa managed to nod on the rebound, but his effort curled the goal.
Indian livewire right-back Anju Tamang made several forays into the rival half and fell back to defense as per the squad’s demands and was responsible for several turnovers, which helped the visitors regroup and launch attacks in the first half.
Belarus received a penalty after one of their attackers was accused of being fouled inside the Indian area. Shuppo Nastassia placed the ball to the left of goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, who had anticipated well but the ball was too far out of reach.
Belarus added a second 10 minutes later, when Pilipenka Hanna was played in the Indian penalty box, and she pressed her shot between the keeper and the near post; as the ball hit the upright and piled up.
A determined India, however, did not give up. Skipper Indumathi found Manisha on the left with a piercing ball and the latter pulled the trigger after sprinting into the Belarusian box, but his effort was saved.
Basfore recovered one later in added time, placing home 30 yards away. Although the Belarusian goalkeeper wore her glove on the ball, the shot had too much power to go towards the goal.