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AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 India vs Iran Player Ratings: Indumathi Kathiresan Dazzles But Fails to Score

Indumathi Kathiresan was India's best player against Iran. (AFC Photo)

Indumathi Kathiresan was India's best player against Iran. (AFC Photo)

AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022: Indumathi Kathiresan was the workhorse for India but the hosts failed to score and settled for a 0-0 draw against Iran.

The Indian women’s football team began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Iran at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Thursday. India’s head coach Thomas Dennerby said ahead of the start of the tournament that quarter-finals was a realistic target for the team and for that, the opener against Iran was always going to be crucial. India failed to score despite creating numerous chance and had to settle for a point.

Dennerby chose against starting veteran Kamala Devi and seasoned Dangmei Grace and instead gave a start to Sandhiya Ranganathan, who had not often been in the starting line-up under the Swedish coach.

The first 20 minutes of the game, Iran executed ball-oriented passing to perfection and put India on the backfoot. As the game went on though, India got their footing in the game and completely dominated the proceedings thereon.

Despite having the ball, India were not decisive and clinical enough in the final third and suffered the consequences for it. Overall, there was a lack of combination play from India’s side, which was something that could have helped them break down the compact defence of Iran.

Dennerby says he is trying to instill the possession-based style in the team but a number of times on Thursday, their instinct of playing the ball long kicked in.

Here are the player ratings on the basis of the performance on the day by the individuals:

Aditi Chauhan: 6.5/10

The Indian defence did pretty well to not let Aditi get under a lot of pressure by defending in numbers and a compact shape. However, a couple of times when Aditi did have to be decisive, she faltered and could have cost her team.

Dalima Chhibber: 7/10

Dalima initially conceded a free kick that could have led to an Iran goal in the 12th minute of the match. Overall, the right-back did fairly well and did not have to deal with a lot of pressure from Iran. Dalima is responsible for taking the attack forward and must do better than putting one-dimensional long balls in the box. In the 66th minute, Dalima’s block prevented Iran from scoring after Aditi’s error.

Ashalata Devi: 8/10

The captain was solid at the back for most part of the match and stood her ground at most times. Ashalata’s sense of positioning is good and hence, she almost never has to go for last-ditch tackles to make clearances.

Manisa Panna: 7.5/10

Manisa is not Ashalata’s regular partner but did well to support her captain. Manisa needs to work on progressing the play from the back but overall, she kept a tight line and covered Aditi well.

Sanju Yadav: 6.5/10

Sanju is a forward who has been slotted in the left-back position for sometime now and it doesn’t really work out for her most times. Sanju, who was a speedy forward when she broke into the team, has lost her pace and is unable to keep a tight defensive cover. Where she is better is in progressing the ball further up the pitch. In the 19th minute, a miscued header from Sanju could not become costly for India but Negin Zandi put the shot just wide and India went unpunished.

Ratanbala Devi: 5/10

Ratanbala had no substantial impact on the game and was almost invisible on the pitch. Ratanbala’s lack of initiative meant that Anju and Indumathi had to take more responsibility of stitching the attack.

Anju Tamang: 7/10

Anju was responsible for holding her ground in the midfield and moving the ball forward and she performed her role fairly well.

Indumathi Kathiresan: 8.5/10

Indumathi was India’s best player on the day. She was the one who realised Manisha needed support up front and started pushing forward. She reacted quickly in a couple of situations to take India a step towards breaking the deadlock. Throughout the course of the match, Indumathi showed a lot of initiative and was an absolute workhorse for her team.

Sandhiya Ranganathan: 5/10

Sandhiya’s performance against Iran was nowhere close to the standards she has set for herself over the years. Sadhiya was not seen using her pace and failed to provide enough support in the box for her fellow forwards.

Pyari Xaxa: 6.5/10

There were a couple of chances for Pyari to find the back of the net but overall, Pyari lacked positional awareness and did not make herself available in the box many a times. When Manisha was being marked, Pyari needed to take more initiative, draw defenders towards herself and use her physicality to good affect but she was unable to execute either of that.

Manisha Kalyan: 8/10

Manisha was the obvious target for both the Indian team and the Iranian team. At times, Iran double marked her in order to stop her from running at the defence and taking a threatening shot. Despite being heavily marked, Manisha did have a couple of chances, including a free header, which she should have converted. She should have received more support from her fellow forwards in the first half but in the second half, she got tired and her level completely dropped.

Dangmei Grace: 7/10

Grace replaced Sandhiya in the 55th minute and managed to put the Iranian defence under immense pressure from the get go. Time and again, she took on the defenders and created opportunities for herself and others. She set up a brilliant chance for Pyari that the Odia was unable to finish. She was herself guilty of missing two massive opportunities to put India ahead and should definitely have been on the scoresheet.

Renu: 5/10

Renu came on for Pyari in the 65th minute and did not impact the game at all. Renu hardly made herself available in advantageous positions and was mostly a spectator on the pitch.

Shilky Devi – N/A*

Sumati Kumari – N/A*

* – Players who did not have enough game time for them to be judged fairly.

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first published:January 21, 2022, 08:00 IST