Indian women’s football team was subjected to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Belarus at the ‘AGMK’, Almayk City, Tashkent region in Uzbekistan on Thursday. After a narrow 1-0 loss to higher-ranked Uzbekistan, India were looking for a better day against Belarus, who are ranked three places below them in the FIFA rankings. Despite what the ranking showed, Belarus had more game time with them and were a huge challenge and that was exactly what was seen throughout the match. Shuppo Nastassia scored a penalty while Pilipenka Hanna found the back of the net once to give their team a comprehensive victory – a reward for keeping India on backfoot for almost the entirety of the match. Sangita Basfore scored a stunning long ranger in the end but that didn’t make up for the dreadful performance overall.
For all those who had seen the second half of India’s performance against Uzbekistan, there was some hope ahead of the match and there was an initial spark when Soumya Guguloth hit the crossbar in just the third minute of the match. But as the match went on and Belarus grew into it, India failed to assert any control.
The Indian players were aimlessly running behind the ball at times, there was a serious lack of sense of positioning, they played hassled football like the first half against Uzbekistan and there was simply a lack of control all over the pitch.
In the 15th minute, there was a penalty shout from India when Manisha dribbled into the box and looked to be brought down but the referee deemed it a fair challenge.
Thereafter, Belarus launched attack after attack to keep India behind. Belarus weren’t playing high-quality football themselves – a lot of loose balls, giving away possession – but India did themselves no favour at all, looking absolutely disoriented.
In the 34th minute, defender Ashalata Devi was brought for forward Soumya Guguloth, a substitution that felt a bit confusing.
India, throughout the game, failed to keep hold of the ball and were execute 10 passes together.
The second half was no different to the first and in the 50th minute, Belarus got the ball into the back of the net only to be deemed offside.
Eight minutes later, Ashalata was surprisingly taken off and winger Sandhiya Ranganathan came on in place of her.
There was a good moment for India in the 61st minute when Manisha ran up with the ball on the left flank but her shot went just across the face of the goal and there was no one in the box to poke it in.
Belarus then earned a clear penalty in the 65th minute and Shuppo Nastassia slotted it in past Aditi with ease. 10 minutes later, India’s defense was torn apart and in a one-on-one situation with Aditi, Pilipenka Hanna found the back of the net.
Belarus were not very good either but India did so much running without clear ideas that it hardly bore fruits.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Sangita got to the end of a loose ball and struck it home beautifully for a stupendous goal but that couldn’t have made up for the poor overall game.