Tashkent, April 5 (IANS) The India women’s football team fought till the final moments of the game before conceding an 87th-minute goal to go down to Uzbekistan in the first friendly at the AGMK Stadium in Tashkent on Monday.
While India also had a fair share of opportunities, Uzbekistan found the back of the net with a late free-kick from Maftuna Shoyimova.
With freezing conditions to contend with, the Uzbeks definitely held an edge but India goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan was up to the task, thwarting a low cross from point-blank range early.
India looked to hit back on the counter with defender Ranjana Chanu combining with midfielder Sangita Basfore to create an opportunity down the left, but the danger was averted by the Uzbek defence.
The Indian defence too held firm with Sweety Devi doing well to deal with aerial threats.
India soon began to warm up to the game, as Manisha found some space in the 24th minute and unleashed a strong left-footer that went over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Soumya Guguloth made her way into the Uzbekistan box from the right, turned and tried to curl the ball in with her left foot, but it was blocked. In the dying minutes of the first half, Uzbekistan launched another attack that saw Nilufar Kudratova hit the crossbar, before the ball was cleared from inside a melee.
Ten minutes into the second half, Manisha combined well with Ranjana Chanu to work the ball up the pitch on the left flank.
The young attacker found a channel to Daya Devi, who turned her marker inside the box and crossed it in.
However, the ball evaded all the attackers and defenders, and the danger was averted.
Uzbekistan had a clear chance to take lead when midfielder Maftuna Shoyimova nodded a corner towards the goal, but Anju Tamang cleared it off the line.
The hosts finally found the back of the net with just three minutes of regulation time left, when Shoyimova slotted a free-kick from around 25 yards out, into the top corner.