HERO GOLD CUP: India Women put right foot forward as they beat Iran

Bhubaneshwar, February 9, 2019: India Women began Hero Gold Cup campaign on a winning note as they beat Iran by a solitary goal at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.

Anju Tamang’s winner in the 48th minute ensured that India made it five wins in a row. They had won the last four friendly games against Hong Kong and Indonesia respectively.

India had the first chance of the game in the second minute. Winger Dangmei Grace latched on to a loose back-pass and raced towards goal only to have her shot cleared away by the goalkeeper.

Iran fought back into the game but India was equal to the task. The first half was played predominantly in the midfield as both sides battled for possession. Coach Maymol Rocky’s side had a good number of opportunities to score.

Anju showed great skill in the 15th minute to get into the box and find Ratanbala Devi whose first-time shot was wide of the target. Seven minutes later Sanju got her head to a cross but the effort did not have enough power.

India had their next best chance in the 30th minute after a ball from the right caused chaos in the Iranian penalty area. It fell to Ratanbala who laid it off with her back to the goal. The shot was cleared off the line!

Iran caused a serious scare for the home side as the game went towards half time. Forward Sara Ghomimarzdashti ran through towards goal. Her shot was on target but Indian custodian Aditi Chauhan collected it to prevent any damage.

India got off to an electric start in the second half as Ratanbala played in Sanju whose shot from a tight angle went over the crossbar. The Ratanbala-Sanju duo combined well to set up the opening goal two minutes later.

Sanju was played in behind the defence as she drew out the goalkeeper with a superb first touch. She squared the ball to Anju with the second touch. Anju scored and made it 1-0! Indumathi’s powerful long ranged effort whizzed past the post three minutes later.

Iran applied pressure but the Indian defence stood firm. The central defensive pairing of Ashalata Devi and Sweety Devi was excellent in positioning and Aditi handled her troops well.

The visitors threw players forward and were left vulnerable on the back. India almost grabbed a second goal as Sanju’s shot rebounded off the woodwork.

MYANMAR BEAT NEPAL: Myanmar recorded a 3-0 victory against Nepal in the first game. Win Theingi Tun scored a goal and Khin Moe Wai grabbed a brace to give them the three points.

India (Starting XI): Aditi Chauhan (GK, C); Dalima Chhibber, Sweety Devi (Lako Bhutia 90+2′), Ashalata Devi, Jabamani Tudu; Sangita Basfore, Indumathi K (Sumithra K 66′), Ratanbala Devi; Sanju, Dangmei Grace (Ranjana Chanu 90+1′), Anju Tamang (Manisha 72′)


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