India vs Chinese Taipei: Key battles that can decide the AFC Women’s Asia Cup 2022 tie

Dangmei Grace was India's most potent attacking outlet against Iran. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)
Dangmei Grace was India's most potent attacking outlet against Iran. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)

Despite creating a plethora of chances, the Indian Senior Team had to settle for a frustrating goalless draw against Iran in their opening game of the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022.

Although the Blue Tigresses dominated possession, the Indian forwards lacked sharpness in the final third to convert one of their many chances. However, in their next game against Chinese Taipei, India will have to come out all guns blazing. Even though Taipei lost their tie against China PR 0-4, the encounter will be a hard-fought one.

Head coach Thomas Dennerby, too, reiterated the same and avered that the Blue Tigresses have completely shifted their focus to the next game.

Group A of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is currently led by China PR, who have three points after defeating Chinese Taipei, while India share the second spot with Iran as both sides have a point apiece.

If India are to have a realistic chance of making it through to the knockout phases, Ashalata Devi and Co. need to come away with three points against Chinese Taipei.

On that note, let's take a look at a few key battles that could decide the game:

#3 Dangmei Grace vs Pan Yanxin

After coming on as a second-half substitute against Iran, Dangmei Grace visibly turned herself into India's most potent attacking outlet. The 25-year-old replaced Sandhiya Ranganathan on the right flank and troubled the Iranian defense with her mazy runs behind the lines.

If Dangmei starts come Sunday, she'll by up against Pan Yanxin of Chinese Taipei. While China are visibly a class above the rest of their Group A opponents, Yanxin did well to hold her own against the Asian giants.

#2 Anju Tamang vs Li-Ping Zhuo

Anju Tamang was the pick of the Indian midfielders in the last game. Filling into a double pivot role alongside young Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, Anju looked lively in possession and did well in carrying and distributing the ball. The 26-year-old will be crucial for India in the middle of the park.

But she will be pitted against Li-Ping Zhuo of Taipei. The 22-year-old midfielder is strong, fast and can be decisive during breaks. Li-Ping is good on the ball and also has a good reach on tackles. Her duel with Anju Tamang in the middle of the park could decide the game.

#1 Ashalata Devi vs Lai Chin-lin

In the last game, Thomas Dennerby opted to start Manisha Panna alongside Ashalata Devi as the centre-back pairing. Manisha isn't India's first choice for the position and Ashalata has to marshal her troops well to make them function as a cohesive unit. The 28-year-old is the most experienced campaigner in the Indian side and will have to maintain defensive lines.

Meanwhile, the Indian skipper will be up against Taipei's most experienced forward Lai Li-chin. The 33-year-old striker will be a menace for the Indian centre-backs to deal with. More importantly, Li-chin will also attempt to create space for his strike partner Hsu Yi-yun to operate.

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Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule