India held goalless by Nepal in second International Friendly

Chennai, Feb 18 (IANS) The Indian Women’s Team played out a goalless draw with Nepal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here on Saturday.

This was the second of the two International Friendlies the two teams played against each other in a span of four days. The match played on February 15 ended in a 2-2 draw.

An injury-hit India were denied by a flurry of saves by Nepal goalkeeper Anjila Subba in the second half, as the Blue Tigresses now turn their attention to preparing for the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers First Round.

The Indians had more say in the early exchanges than in the last game, not allowing Nepal any time and space on the ball. Manisha Kalyan, who started this game, was at it from the get-go. She wrongfooted her marker and punched it with the outside of her boot, but the ball went straight into Nepal keeper Anjila Subba’s hands.

Minutes later, Soumya Guguloth, the scorer of the first goal in the previous game, had a sniff at the goal from a Manisha cross, but sent it wide.

Captain Indumathi Kathiresan had a brilliant opportunity in the 21st minute after a cleared corner was played back to her behind the defence in some space, but her first-time shot was saved.

Karthika had arguably the best opportunity of the half in the 30th minute when she produced a sublime curling effort with the postal address of the top corner, but an airborne Anjila pulled off an equally brilliant save to deny her.

Dalima Chhibber had a crack at the Nepal goal minutes before the lemon break from 30 yards out, but it lacked the requisite power, and was subsequently gathered by the keeper.

It started as a more even contest in the second half, and Nepal striker Sabitra Bhandari gave chase after a long ball, but had the ball stolen from her by Ritu Rani.

India head coach Thomas Dennerby rung in the changes after a brief period of lull, with Sandhiya Ranganathan, Kashmina, and Karishma Shirvoikar replacing Dangmei Grace, Karthika Angamuthu, and Soumya Guguloth.

Anju Tamang had an opportunity in the 78th minute, though she all but had the elusive goal, when she nodded a Dalima cross towards the far post, but it was cleared off the line.

With less than five minutes left on the clock, Indumathi measured a through ball to Sandhiya, who managed to reach just in time, but had the ball swept from her feet by an onrushing Anjila’s foot. Karishma got on the rebound, and with the keeper out of position, attempted to chip it in, but Nepal’s day was again saved by some desperate defending on the line.

Karishma thought she had won it with two minutes to go when she headed a cross towards the bottom corner, but a diving Anjila managed to get her fingertips onto it and tipped it around the upright.

–IANS

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