India blank Indonesia to maintain perfect record at AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers

The India U-20 Women’s National Team made it two wins from two in Group F of the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 1 with a solid 6-0 victory over Indonesia at the Viet Tri Stadium in Viet Tri City, Vietnam on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Similar to their opening-day 7-0 success over Singapore, India built their rhythm from the get-go. Maymol Rocky’s girls scored three goals in each half to seal another dominating win and remain top of the table with six points and a positive goal difference of 13.

Rocky made three changes from the first match — Hemam Shilky Devi replacing Linda Chanu at center-back, Lisham Babina Devi in for Martina Thokchom in midfield, and Neha started in place of Sumati Kumari on the left wing.

India’s first big chance came as early as the third minute when captain Apurna Narzary slammed a left-footed strike onto the post. Neha, however, would open the scoring in the very next minute, easily tapping in a cutback from Anita Kumari on the right.

The duo combined again to double India’s advantage. Anita drilled another low cross from the right, which evaded everyone to fall perfectly in Neha’s path. She slammed it into the roof of the net.

After a couple of tap-ins, Neha could have had her hat-trick with some brilliant individual play. She skipped past two challenges on the edge of the box before dinking the ball over the keeper, but it came off the far post.

It was 3-0 at the stroke of half-time. Apurna raced to the by-line before cutting it back for midfielder Kajol Dsouza, who was arriving into the box at full pace. Kajol unleashed a solid first-time effort into the bottom corner for her second goal in as many games.

Indonesian goalkeeper Fani was decent at the start of the second half, making a strong save to deny Anita from close range before diving at full stretch to keep out Kajol’s 20-yard strike. However, she could do nothing about Apurna’s headed goal in the 54th minute. Neha floated a corner at the far post, which was met by a nervous clearance from Indonesia, and the ball fell kindly for Apurna, who nodded in from point-blank range.

Apurna was then denied her second of the day by the offside flag. A low shot from Kajol was saved by Fani, and the rebound fell for the Indian skipper, who put it in but the flag went up as Sumati Kumari was offside in the build-up.

After a couple of one-on-one misses from Apurna and Anita, Sumati got herself on the scoresheet in style. She was brilliantly picked out by Kajol’s cross into the six-yard box and scored with a thumping volley to make it five for India. Sumati struck her second in injury time, assisted by Kajol again. The midfielder sent a defense-splitting pass to release Sumati clean through on goal, and she made no mistake in slotting it past Fani.

India could’ve matched their opening-day scoreline if not for a disallowed goal. In the last attack of the game, Mousumi Murmu sent home Tania Kanti’s low cross from the left, but the assistant referee’s flag went up for offside.

India will next take on hosts Vietnam on Saturday, March 11 in what could be a virtual qualifying play-off for Round 2.

FT: Indonesia U-20 Women 0 – 6 India U-20 Women (Neha 4′, 21′, Kajol Dsouza 45′, Apurna Narzary 56′, Sumati Kumari 74′, 90+1′)

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