THE INDIAN WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM scored a decisive victory in their first international friendly in over 6 months against UAE on Saturday night.
The match, held behind closed doors, was not did not have any telecast or streaming or score updates from AIFF, leaving fans in the dark about the game most of the time.
The match, however, proved to be a grand success for incoming head coach Thomas Dennerby. In his debut match, the Blue Tigresses scored a 4-1 victory over hosts UAE; a welcome change of results after the back to back 5 defeats they suffered this year at the Turkish Women's Cup as well as two friendlies against Uzbekistan and Belarus.
It also marked the first time India won a match since 9th December 2019, when they beat Nepal in the final of the South Asian Games.
India started the game dominant against the lower ranked UAE side and 20 minutes in, Manisha Kalyan put India ahead. Not long afterwards Pyari Xaxa doubled India's lead and Sweety Devi added to the cushion about 41 minutes into the game. India went into the half-time with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
UAE struck back early in the second half, with Salha Rashid getting one back for her side 5 minutes into the second half. However, it was not enough to derail India's momentum. Head coach Dennerby continued making changes, and the squad held their own against a UAE side that went for an all-out attack to find a way back into the game.
In fact towards the end, Anju Tamang added another goal to India's tally, ensuring a 4-1 victory.
The Blue Tigresses will play another friendly in Dubai, against Tunisia on 4th October. After that they will fly to Bahrain where two more friendlies against the host nation (10th October) and Chinese Taipei (13th October) awaits them.
As the host nation India have already qualified for the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022, and their campaign in the prestigious continental championship begins on 10th January 2022. Before that, these friendlies provide head coach Dennerby with crucial opportunities to see the team in action and get his game plan ready.
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