The Indian Women's Team registered a 1-0 victory, thanks to a goal from Manisha Kalyan, against host nation Jordan at the Prince Mohammed Stadium in Zarqa, Jordan on Saturday.
India were coming into the game after a narrow 1-0 victory against Egypt. Meanwhile, Jordan hadn't played a game since their loss to Iran in the AFC Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers on penalties last year.
It was expected to be an evenly contested game given both teams were closely placed in the FIFA rankings.
The game unraveled as a cagey affair right from the get-go. However, as the minutes rolled, the Blue Tigresses slowly started carving out threatening attacking chances. In the fifth minute, Manisha Kalyan was set through and had a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper. But she was ruled offside almost immediately.
India had their first corner of the game in the 12th minute but Manisha's header off a cross by Ratanbala Devi was cleared with ease by the host nation. However, Thomas Dennerby's side were instantly caught off-guard by a Jordan counterattack.
Maysa Jbarah was one-on-one with the Indian keeper and tried to place her between the legs of Aditi Chauhan. But Chauhan stepped in with a crucial stop to deny Jordan an advantage in the game.
Minutes later, the Indian shot-stopper was called into action once again when Jordan looped a free-kick into the visitors' box. But Aditi gobbled up the effort with ease.
Manisha Kalyan, who was masterfully marked by Jordan's full-backs till then, found some space in the 28th minute and unleashed a timid effort from outside the box. The Jordan keeper dealt with the attempt quite easily.
The first-half continued with similar intensity as India created plenty of half chances but were lacking the final ball. Right on the stroke of half-time, India had a freekick just outside the Jordan box. However, Manisha Kalyan's effort whizzed off target as the referee blew the whistle.
Manisha Kalyan opens the account in the second half
Coming out after the break, head coach Thomas Dennerby opted to take off Sandhiya Ranganathan and bring on Pyari Xaxa to replenish India's attacking edge. The Blue Tigresses carried their momentum from the first half and were thirsty to strike early. And they did.
Manisha Kalyan received the ball in the Jordan half in the 48th minute. She made a darting run down the left, evaded her marker, and unleashed a vicious left-footed effort.
The opposition goalkeeper got her hand on the effort but her feeble touch couldn't stop the ball from thumping into the top right corner. Finally, India were rewarded for their constant attacking efforts.
After conceding the goal, Jordan were jarred and grew desperate. In the 65th minute, the hosts had an opportunity to equalize the scores when Leen Yasin was released down the right. However, her attempted chip sailed wide over the crossbar and into the stands.
The Indian eves didn't completely resort to sitting back and defending. They continued to create chances in the opposition half. In the 72nd minute, Anju Tamang swung in a corner for India, and Manisha tried to sneak it into the near post. But her effort went just wide.
Minutes later, Jordan had a glorious opportunity to restore parity when Leen was yet again through on goal. But Indian skipper Ashalata Devi stepped in with a crucial block inside the box to neutralize Jordan's attacking threat.
Into the final 10 minutes of the match, Dennerby replaced Ratanbala Devi with Karthika Angamuthu.
In the 88th minute, India had an opportunity to double the lead when Anju found herself with some space and knitted a through-ball into the opposition box. However, there was absolute chaos as three bodies went down fighting for the ball and Jordan were rewarded with a freekick.
However, the best scoring opportunity of the game fell India's way in the fourth minute of injury time. A Jordan defender misplaced her backpass and Pyari Xaxa latched onto it. She was through on goal with just the keeper to beat, but the forward scuffed her effort and it flew wide.
In the end, Manisha Kalyan's glorious strike was the difference between the evenly-matched teams. Head coach Thomas Dennerby will be a happy man given that his team returns home after getting two victories on the trot in this Jordan friendlies tour.