Hangzhou [China], September 21 (ANI): The Indian women's football team began its Asian Games 2023 campaign with a 1-2 loss to Chinese Taipei on Thursday in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.
Anju Tamang (47') began the scoring for India, but goals from Li-Chin Lai (69') and Yu-Hsuan Su (84') sealed all three points and propelled Chinese Taipei to the top of Group B.
Manisha Kalyan almost produced a goal-scoring opportunity for the returning Bala Devi in the first minute for the Thomas Dennerby-managed Indian team, which was playing its first match since March, as per Olympics.com.
Meanwhile, Yen-Ping Chen of Chinese Taipei missed a chance to open the score in the seventh minute. Shreya Hooda, an Indian custodian, came off her line barely in time to stop the striker.
However, it was India's Manisha Kalyan who delivered the opening period's standout moment, striking the crossbar in the 36th minute. Despite having multiple chances, neither team was able to score in the first half.
Despite having the lion's share of possession, India, ranked 61st in FIFA, defended with purpose and generated their fair number of chances, thanks to Anju Tamang and Manisha Kalyan's pacy runs down the sides.
The Indian women's football team seized the lead straight after the restart.
After a daring run, Anju Tamang found Manisha Kalyan in the Chinese Taipei penalty box. Kalyan returned the favour with an inviting cross, which Tamang, 27, grabbed onto to give India a 1-0 lead. Anju Tamang scored his 13th senior international goal in 49 games.
The goal elicited a reaction from Chinese Taipei, who attempted to boost the ante in pursuit of an equaliser. With a precise free kick from the edge of the box, Li-Chin Lai came close.
Following a frightening Chinese Taipei counterattack, Yu-Hsuan Su struck the side netting. Meanwhile, the Indian attacking trio of Tamang, Kalyan, and Jyoti continued to press for a decisive second goal.
However, a fantastic free-kick routine completed by 35-year-old midfielder Li-Chin Lai brought Chinese Taipei back into the game.
Chinese Taipei increased its offensive intensity after equalising. Hsin Hui Lin came close to putting them ahead, but Shreya Hooda made a great stop at the near post.
The match-winning goal came in the 84th minute for Chinese Taipei, when Yu-Hsuan Su took advantage of a defensive blunder to roll it into an empty Indian goal.
Though India pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, Chinese Taipei held firm to complete a comeback victory.
The Indian women's football team will play Thailand at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre Stadium on Sunday.
The five group winners will proceed to the quarter-finals of the Asian Games 2023 women's football competition. The remaining quarter-final positions will be filled by the three best runners-up from Groups A, B, D, and E. (ANI)