The Indian women’s football team will play their second match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 campaign against Chinese Taipei on Sunday, January 23 at 7.30pm at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Ahead of India’s match, the other game from their group between Iran and China will take place at 3.30pm at the Mumbai Football Arena.
India started the tournament with a goalless draw against Iran in a match that saw them create 13 chances, have seven shots on target but none could find the back of the net.
It was a frustrating night for India, who dominated the match throughout barring the first 20 odd minutes when Iran took the game to India and got off the blocks with intensity.
The match was expected to be one of attack vs defence. While that wasn’t the case early on as Iran pressed high and retrieved a lot of balls from India, for the rest of the match Iran defended resolutely while India attacked and attacked.
While India dribbled, ran up the pitch and attacked a lot, there was a lack of combination play from the hosts and the players were not playing in between the lines enough.
India could not surprise Iran much, allowing the middle-eastern nation to make 82 interceptions in 90 minutes.
As India face Chinese Taipei, they are in a must-win situation as they need these three points to give themselves a good chance to make the quarter-finals.
WHAT TO EXPECT
India played against Chinese Taipei in one of the friendlies under coach Thomas Dennerby last year and came out 1-0 victors. Renu was the sole goalscorer in that game.
18 members of the Chinese Taipei squad during that friendly have come for the Asian Cup, which means there is bound to be a great level of familiarity for both the teams.
When China played Chinese Taipei in the tournament opener, they put a lot of crosses from the flanks in the middle to trouble the Taipei central defenders. That is a strategy that India can use, only the hosts will have to make those runs in the middle and provide more options in the box, something they failed to do against Iran.
Chinese Taipei cannot be taken lightly even though they looked weak in their first game. Against China, they were not allowed the luxury to circulate the ball and make any inroads. The Indian defence, however, will have to careful and keep compactness at the back.
Iran had targetted India’s full-backs in those first 20 minutes and their striker Zandi made a number of numbers either in between the centre-backs or behind Manisa Panna.
Chinese Taipei can take cues from that and it might do Dennerby good to cover his bases in those positions. Sanju is a makeshift left-back and was found fluffing her lines quite a bit in the opener.
India’s attackers were quite isolated against Iran. In the first half when Manisha Kalyan was trying to force the issue, she didn’t get much support up front. In the second half when Dangmei Grace was troubling the Iran, she didn’t get too many options as well. That is an issue Dennerby will need to address.
Pyari Xaxa was the striker in the match and barring a couple of occasions, she lacked the understanding to make runs in the channels to put India in advantageous positions.
The match against Chinese Taipei can turn out to be quite tactical and it will all come out down to who can use the spaces better.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Dangmei Grace – Grace was electric since coming on as a substitute in the second half and her dribbles and pace put the Iranians under a lot of pressure. If she can be more clinical in front of the goal, it will put India in good stead.
Indumathi Kathiresan – She was an absolute workhorse for India in the first game and had the tactical intelligence to push forward and create numerical and space advantage for India up front. It will be very important for Indian forwards to combine with her to create chances.
Hsu Yi-Yun – The most experienced member of the squad, she has 40 national caps to her name.
Lai Li-Chin – The captain for their tournament opener, she has scored eight goals in the 20 games she has played for the country.
INDIA’S PREDICTED LINE-UP
This is another match where India will need to be on the attack. Dennerby went with a 4-3-3 in their first game against Iran and it is likely that he will use the same formation against.
However, there may be a couple of changes in the starting XI.
India’s predicted starting XI: Aditi Chauhan (GK), Dalima Chhibber, Ashalata Devi, Manisa Panna, Sanju Yadav; Anju Tamang, Indumathi Kathiresan, Kamala Devi; Dangmei Grace, Manisha Kalyan, Pyari Xaxa.