Maldives girls hold India to goalless draw

From a Correspondent

SHILLONG, Feb 5: An inspired Maldives held India to a goalless draw in their South Asian Games 2016 women's football match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex in Shillong despite all odds being played against them. The women in blue went on the offence from the early minutes with the likes of skipper Bembem Devi, Dangmei Grace, Sanju and Kamala Devi hardly allowing their opponents any room to breathe. But it was the underdogs that stole the show against the current champions with their resilient defending.

Sajid Yusuf Dhar's side gained the upper hand with crisp passing and numerous shots taken at goal but the decisive goal eluded them. Earlier, Dangmei Grace's header in the 12th minute nearly found the goal but the attempt went wide of the target. In the 36th minute, Prameshwori Devi was denied a goal after the Maldivian defence cleared the danger with the sides going into the break goalless.

Upon resumption, Dangmei Grace sent a scorcher but her shot flew merely inches shy of the goal. Maldives goalkeeper Aishath Abdul Razzaq had an excellent game, producing endless saves throughout the match. Maldives captain Fadhuwa Zahir held the midfield together in the latter half as India found it difficult to find a clear cut chance. The last significant highlight of the battle was Dangmei's header that went just over the crossbar before the referee blew the fil whistle.

At the post match conference, coach Sajid Yusuf Dhar said that his team was expecting a win out of the match but 'could not capitalise on their chances.' He added “I would like to congratulate Maldives for playing a tough match and gaining a point. Maldives now is not the same team from four years back. They are a much better side which reflected in todays match. We were pretty confident of a win and prepared well for the match. We will be looking at our mistakes and working on them.”

Meanwhile, Maldives coach oko Kawamoto looked a happy woman saying “It was a very good result for us. My players did very well today. I didn’t expect such a result since India is a strong team. I'm happy with the way Amith, Sanfa and Fadhuwa and Aishath Razzaq played. The cold was difficult for many of our players but we did our best.” When asked about their next match against Nepal, she replied “We will look to defend well against them. Even today, I advised my girls not to attack otherwise we would be providing India opportunities to score.”

Meanwhile, in the opening match, Nepal won by 3-0 goal defeating Bangladesh.

Deepa Adhikari opened the scoring for the Nepal in the just 3rd minute; while Anu Lama increased the tally in the 17thminute before Neru Thapa completed the rout in the 21st minute.

On February 7, Maldives face Nepal at 11 AM while Bangladesh and Sril Lanka meet at 4 PM.

Top Headlines

No stories found.
Sentinel Assam