Football is cruel at times. It refuses to give you a second chance, even if you deserve one. The Indian Women’s Senior National Team, despite giving a good account of themselves against Myanmar in their opening game of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup (Qualifiers), have their backs to wall after a 0-2 reversal.
Against Chinese Taipei, who pumped in six goals against hosts Palestine in the Group D curtain-raiser on Tuesday, the Women in Blue have their task cut out. A win will keep them in the hunt for a place in the Finals of the AFC Cup. A defeat will mean otherwise.
“It is a do or die match for us,” National coach Anadi Barua maintains.
“In such tournaments where you get three games and only one team qualifies, there is absolutely no breathing space. We have played well against Myanmar, especially in the second half. They got the goals early. We took time to settle and that was the key,” he adds.
“Once we got a hold of the match, we looked so much better. I am not taking anything out of Myanmar’s victory. They deserved it. They got the goals, we didn’t. But we played well. On another day, the script could have been different,” added the India Coach.
As the game progressed on Tuesday, the passing improved, flank play sharpened and backline held firm. The second-half belonged to India as Myanmar did everything they could to protect the two-goal cushion.
“Bala (Devi) is not fully fit and we will take a call on her on the match day morning. Tuli (Goon) is also nursing a rib injury. Otherwise, our defence held fort and midfield played well,” assistant Coach Surmala Chanu informed.
Taipei Coach Yen Shih Kai exuded confidence after their 6-0 victory against Palestine.
“We are confident of doing well against India. I am happy with the way the girls are playing. Lin’s (Ya Han) hat-trick was a treat to watch. I hope she continues in the same vein in the next two matches.”
He added: “We have been preparing for the Qualifiers for a long time. I am glad that we are reaping dividends, though it is a little early to say.
India and Myanmar won’t come easy and we are leaving no stones unturned in our preparations.”
The kick-off on May 23 is at 10.30pm (IST).
India’s last three International matches:
May 14, 2013: v Bahrain. India won 2-1.
May 16, 2013: v Bahrain. India won 2-0.
May 21, 2013: v Myanmar, India lost 0-2.
Chinese Taipei’s last three International Matches:
November 22, 2012: v China. Taipei lost 0-2.
November 24, 2012: v Hong Kong. Taipei won 2-1.
May 21, 2013: v Palestine. Myanmar won 6-0.