The India Women’s National Team went down 3-5 to Vasant Valley School in a practice match at the Shiv Nadar University, Dadri on Saturday, February 28. The Indian Women’s Team are currently in a Preparatory Camp at the University complex for the forthcoming 2016 Olympic qualifiers scheduled this month in Mandalay, Myanmar.
For the Indian Women, Parameshwori Devi, Sasmita Malik and Manpreet Kaur scored one apiece. Vasant Valley led 2-1 at the interval.
Coach Sajid Dar, however, opted to exclude two of the senior most members of the contingent – Bembem Devi and Bala Devi and started with a relatively young squad which was led by Sasmita Malik.
The Indian eves piled pressure right from the kick-off and in the third minute Sasmita Malik was given a brilliant opportunity to open the scoring for the National Team. A scintillating Sasmita robbed the School Team of possession and burst onto a vacant right flank, but she was disarmed with astute acumen by the school boys.
Minutes later, Sasmita Malik once again took advantage of diminishing numbers in the rival zone and essayed a cross for Kamala Devi but it went abegging. The Indian Women were once again handed a brilliant opportunity in the eighth minute, when a quick interchange of passes saw Kamala Devi in the clear but she sent it inches wide of the post.
Nevertheless, fortune smiled upon the Women in the 25th minute when Prameshwori Devi scored a sublime goal, following a brilliant cross by Sasmita. However, three minutes later, much against the run of play, Vasant Valley School equalized when Goalkeeper Panthoi Devi was beaten with an exquisite chip.
Jyoti Burrett, who was brought on as a substitute in the 30th minute proved her worth four minutes later when she unleashed a precise cross for Sanju, but the latter ran into traffic. A rampant Jyoti once again proved a thorn for the Vasant Valley School Team on the right flank when her thunderous effort hit the woodwork in the 40th minute. Vasant Valley School scored their second of the match and at the stroke of half-time as they went into the breather enjoying a 2-1 lead.
Seconds into the second half, Vasant Valley School made it 3-1 when they finished off a counter attack in style. The goal opened the floodgates as the Schoolboys added their fourth in the 56th minute and their fifth in the 60th minute respectively.
It was in the 70th minute when Sasmita Malik reduced the margin off a powerful shot. Bembem Devi was brought on as a substitute and she was proved quick menacing for the rivals. In a rather one sided last twenty five minutes, dominated by the women, Manpreet Kaur scored the third goal in the 76th minute. The last fifteen minutes of the match witnessed a barrage of attacks by the Indian Eves, which, however, were thwarted away successfully by the boys.
Nevertheless Head Coach Sajid Dar sounded happy with his Team’s commitment and said, “It was a good show by the Team. But we still have to improve which we will in the coming week. There were a lot of positives to look at, rather than negatives. I am satisfied by the performance of each and every player.”
He added, “We are playing with stronger teams in order to improve. We are increasing their mental and physical strength which will help us when we square off against Sri Lanka and Myanmar.”
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)