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India held to a goalless draw by Maldives in South Asian Games 2016

NEW DELHI: The Indian Women’s Senior National Team started their 12th South Asian Games campaign with a goalless draw against Maldives at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya on February 05, 2016.
 
In what was a dominating performance, the Indian Senior Women’s National Team attacked right from the whistle and had the Indian eves had their goal-scoring boots on, the complexion of the match would have been much different and the score-line much contrasting. However, as destiny had it, complacency infront of goal cost the Indian eves, a deserving win.
 
“In Football it is all about taking your opportunities and we did not take them today”, Head Coach of the Indian Women’s Senior National Team Sajid Dar told.
 
“You have to score in order to win and today’s draw points us straight to the drawing board to rectify our errors infront of goal”, he added.
 
As early as the 4th minute, the Indian eves carved a opening in the Maldivian defence line as Kamala Devi, after a glitzy passing move with Sasmita Malik on the left flank, teed up on rushing Premi Devi, who could only unleash a lacklustre shot as the opponent’s custodian made an easy save.
 
Four minute later, Sasmita Malik released Bembem Devi onto goal with an accurate through ball, but the latter could only hammer the side-netting as the opportunity went abegging.
 
In the 12th minute, the Maldivian custodian made a top-draw save to deny Grace the joy of scoring from a header, following a Premi Devi cross from the right flank. With chances coming every now and then, the Indian eves although piled pressure on their opponents, had nothing to flaunt for their attacking finesse.
 
Premi Devi failed to convert her chance from inside the box after Sasmita Malik unleashed a delightful cross for her in the 20th minute.
 
In a move to thwart away a flurry of Indian attacks, Maldives committed bodies in defence and ‘parked the bus’ to disrupt India’s attacking fluidity. Nevertheless, the Indian eves cut through the Maldivian defence like knife on butter and in the 36th minute, Prameshwori Devi had the best of the first half as she wriggled her way past the Maldivian defence, only to scoop her shot wide.
 
After the half-time scoreline read 0-0, the Indian eves found the net seconds into the second half, but the referee waved it offside to dampen the celebrations.
 
The action, even in the second half was accumulated in Maldives’ half, as India’s custodian Aditi Chauhan, not once came under fire from the Maldivian attack force.
 
In the minute, substitute Sanju released Grace onto goal, but the latter could only manage to hit the side-netting as another opportunity went abegging for the Indian eves. Shortly after, a direct Kamala Devi free-kick from the edge of the 18 yard box was fisted away by the Maldivian custodian.
 
The Indian eves, dominated possession, launched attacks at will, but were left reeling for the finishing touches, as in the 70th minute, Kamala Devi failed to find the net after a routine corner kick scenario.
 
In the 82nd minute, Grace burst onto a vacant left flank and unleashed a cross for Kamala Devi, but the former’s cross, failed to find its intended target.
 
In the dying embers of the match, Grace was awarded with an opportunity to seal the deal when Sanju’s delicious cross found her unmarked in the 18 yard box. However, Grace failed to make clean contact with the cross, as her header went wide of the goal.
 
The Indian eves pressed for the deciding goal, but were thwarted by Maldives, and at the end of time the score-line read 0-0.
 
The Indian Women’s Team will now clash against Sri Lanka on February 09, 2016 in Shillong.
 
India’s starting XI against Maldives: Aditi Chauhan (GK); Dalima Chibber, Ashalata Devi, Manisa Panna, Umapati Devi; Bembem Devi (C), Premi Devi, Dangmei Grace, Sasmita Malik, Kamala Devi, Prameshwori Devi (45’ – Sanju)
 
 
Courtesy- AIFF Media