The road to qualify for the AFC Women's Asian Cup next year began on a positive note for the Indian national team, as they managed to beat a Bahrain side in Riffa, Bahrain on Tuesday.
The match, first of two friendlies between the two countries, ended 2-1, thanks to goals from Pinky Magar and Kamala Devi. Reem Yusuf who scored in the 42nd minute for the hosts managed to halve the lead just before half time, but the visitors managed to ensure Bahrain would not score again.
The SAFF Cup Champions took just 8 minutes to find the net as striker Pinky Magar stabbed home from close range after Sasmita Malik’s effort had rebounded off the bar. The lead would be doubled soon, after some more good work by Malik, who found Kamala Devi from the left with a wonderful cross.
The hosts managed to grab a goal against the run of play, thanks to a penalty when a free kick from the edge of the box struck Ashalata Devi’s hand inside the box. Reem Yusuf managed to convert it from the spot, to bring the home side back into the game.
The second half began, with the visitng side continuing from where they left off with repeated attacks on the Bahrain defence. Malik left the defenders with twisted blood with her darting runs down the left flank.
The midfield was also being dominated by the Indian side as captain Bembem Devi led from the front. The experienced leader basically was the instigator for all the good attacking moves that the team came up with.
The second half also saw numerous changes from both managers to ensure every player got a chance to stake their claim for a place in the all-important AFC Women’s Asian Cup (Qualifiers). The game ended 2-1 with both sides now looking forward to their second clash which will be played on Thursday.