Indian women go down to Uzbeks
by Shubham Sharma
Tashkent: The Indian women's national football team went down 1-5 to Uzbekistan in their first friendly match here at the Yakkasary Stadium on Friday. The Indian side created lots of chances and took an early lead in the fifthbut the hosts picked up the win eventually, scoring twice and thrice in the two halves respectively.
The first half began well for India as Bala Devi drew the first blood in the favour of the visitors as early as the fifth minute of the match. Sanju Yadav delivered a cross from the left that was picked up by Dangmei Grace, who played in Bala as she spotted the ball past the opponent custodian.
Grace came close to increasing India's lead almost immediately, but her shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved by the Uzbek custodian. Soon the match opened up on both ends as as Indian goalie Aditi Chauhan was forced to make a great save in the 15th minute of the match. On the other end, Bala's shot from close range was defended.
Grace was becoming a concern for the Uzbek defence as she almost found the second goal in the 22nd minute of the match only to be denied by some timely defending.
To the disappointment of the visitors, Uzbekistan scored the equalizer as forward Lyudmila Karachik found the net in the 31st minute. The hosts earned the lead soon after as defender Maftuna Shoyimova scored in the 38th minute as they went back into the tunnel with the scoreline in their favour.
India attacked after the change of sides to hunt for an equalizer but Nilufar Kudratova added a third for Uzbekistan, making things worker for the visitors.
Just three minutes before the hour mark, Sanju almost scored India's second as her free-kick just went whizzing past the goal. In the 62nd minute, Uzbekistan added a fourth to their account through substitute Ugiloy Kuchkarova who scored another goal eight minutes from time as the scoreline read 5-1 in favour of the hosts at the blow of full time whistle.
The next match between the two teams will be played on Monday at 5.30 PM IST at the same venue.