Mandalay (Myanmar), April 3 (IANS) Dangmei Grace scored a brace as the Indian women football team defeated Indonesia 2-0 in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match here on Wednesday.
Grace (27th, 67th) scored once in each half as the team in blue took control of the proceedings right from the first whistle.
Speaking later, head coach Maymol Rocky said: “We wanted to start our qualifying campaign on a winning note and we have done so. Indonesia proved to be tough opponents that committed bodies in defence but we found a way to gather three points.
“It is important to keep the winning momentum alive… We are taking one match at a time and our focus shifts on our next opponents Nepal (on April 6)”, she added.
Keeping their winning momentum alive after the success of their 5th consecutive SAFF title win, the Indian women heaped pressure on the opponents from the opening minute.
Some crafty work down the wings by Sanju and Ratanbala Devi caused havoc on the opposition defence that was unable to read the play of the Indian women.
Sanju’s cross in the 24th minute caused chaos in the Indonesian defence, with one defender almost turning it into an own goal before clearing the lines.
Sandhiya’s run in the 26th minute, after she was found by Sanju, caught the Indonesian defenders napping.
Her stinging shot from inside the box was saved by Indonesian custodian Riska Julianti but Dangmei Grace applied the finishing touches from close range to give India the lead in the next minute.
The Indian defence made quick work of Indonesian counterattacks. Indian goalkeepr Linthoingambi Devi was not tested even once.
India’s momentum continued in the second half. Ratanbala Devi’s shot from a distance in the 56th minute was thwarted by the Indonesian goalkeeper.
Three minutes later, Grace failed to score from close range after Sanju found her with a rasping cross that bewildered the Indonesian defence.
In the 67th minute, Dangmei Grace again applied the finishing touches to a shot from Sumithra Kamaraj that was haphazardly parried away by Riska Julianti and fell in front of her — to double India’s lead.
The midfield then dominated possession and kept Indonesia on their toes. India take pole position in Group A of the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2.