AFC 2020 Olympics Qualifiers: Indian eves play out a stalemate with Nepal
Yangon [Myanmar], Nov 8 : Coming afresh after a rigorous three-week preparatory, Indian women's football team on Thursday held Nepal in their first battle of Asian Football Confederation Olympic 2020 qualifier match.
However, her cross was blocked by the Indian defenders. Meanwhile, India were forced to substitute Sweety Devi early owing to an injury. She was replaced by Manisha Panna.
In the 11th minute, Nepal got the lead through its captain Niru Thapa. She poked home a cross from the left flank to give her team the much-required goal.
India's Sangita tried her luck with a shot from afar but to no avail as it was easily gathered by the opposition keeper. Anju Tamang also found an equalizing chance against the Nepalese keeper after a long ball but her chipped effort got over the crossbar.
After consistent failures, Kamala Devi finally earned the equaliser for her team in the 37th minute. Sanju played in down the left flank and her pinpoint cross found Kamala inside the six-yard box, and she made no mistake in her finish.
Against the run of play, the Nepalese forwards played a scintillating one-two-one passing game to create a shooting opportunity. The shot penetrated the Indian keeper but was heroically cleared off the goal-line by the Indian defence. India maintained a 1-1 draw at halftime against Nepal.
After the first half, Indians got an opportunity to gain the lead as a volley from Kamala dashed just over the bar. Thereafter, as the Nepalese girls made a foray into the Indian backline, goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan showed remarkable resilience to parry away a close-range shot in a one-on-one situation.
The Nepal winger charged into the box but Ratanbala Devi stood firm on her ground and came up with a clean tackle. In the next phase of play, Bala Devi cut in from the right and unleashed a powerful effort on target. However, the Nepalese keeper completed a save.
Both the sides in the 83rd minute looked to score the goal that would almost certainly win them the game. However, the score still remained one goal apiece.