SAFF Women’s Championship 2022 | Clinical India defeat Pakistan 3-0 in tournament opener

SAFF Women’s Championship 2022 | Clinical India defeat Pakistan 3-0 in tournament opener

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India who are the defending champions, defeated Pakistan 3-0 in the opening match of the SAFF Women's Championship 2022 on Wednesday in Kathmandu, Nepal. In the 21st minute, Pakistani captain Maria Jamila Khan committed own goal; shortly after, attacker Dangmei Grace increased the advantage.

In the 94th second of extra time, India increased their lead to three goals thanks to a goal by Soumya Guguloth. The 58th-ranked Indian women's football team controlled the game for the first 15 minutes against an unranked Pakistan squad, but they were unable to put the game away.

On the contrary, Pakistan attempted to generate opportunities from the flanks through Zulfia Nazir and Nadia Khan as they played their first international football match in eight years. However, Pakistan was denied any significant opportunities by Indian goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan and the defence, which was captained by Ashalata Devi.

As the match went on, the Indian ladies appeared more composed. Indian midfielder Sandhiya Ranganathan's cross for Dangmei Grace inside the box was hard-touched in front of the goal by Pakistani forward Maria Jamila Khan, giving India a 1-0 lead.

Just a little later the Indian midfielder Anju Tamang outmuscled the Pakistani defence before finding Dangmei Grace, who scored India's second goal with a low drive from the right side of the box to the near post.

Through sporadic setpieces, Pakistan attempted to create a comeback in the last minutes of the first half. The Pakistani goalkeeper Syeda Mahpara prevented the Indian women's opportunities to put the game beyond Pakistan's reach. India had a 2-0 advantage at the half.

In the second half, Pakistan was considerably more inventive and favoured counterattacks. Pakistan was awarded a free kick from right outside the area in the 57th minute. However, Maria Khan's effort struck the Indian wall, and Aditi Chauhan quickly snatched up the rebound with an accurate stroke.

The 65th minute saw India's greatest opportunity of the second half, but Dangmei Grace handled the ball in front of an open goal after Pakistan's goalie had collapsed after colliding with her own defender. From there, India played some excellent offensive football, and starting in the 75th minute, Pakistan was forced to stop the bus in front of the goal.

Syeda Mahpara, the goalie for Pakistan, stood firm in front of her net as well. In the fourth minute of additional time, Ranjana Chanu's exact low pass from the left met Soumya Guguloth, giving India their third goal. Without making a mistake, Soumya put it in the bottom corner.

India's next game is against the Maldives on Friday, and then on September 13, they play Bangladesh. The top two groups' teams will advance to the semi-finals.

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