New Delhi, November 1: India suffered their second successive defeat as they lost to Vietnam 1-3 in their Group C match of the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers second round at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent.
Now, India will play Uzbekistan next on Wednesday at the Milliy Stadium.
However, with this loss, India’s hopes of qualifying for the third and final round of the Paris Olympic qualifiers also came to an end. Huynh Nhu (4’), Tran Linh (22’) and Pham Hai Yen (73’) scored for Vietnam while Sandhiya Ranganathan (80’) scored for India.
The third and final round of the Paris Olympic qualifiers is scheduled in February and only the top teams from the three groups (A–C), along with the best runners-up, will make the cut.
India, who lost to Japan 7-0 in their opening match, is currently is lying last in Group C with no points from two matches. The other three teams in the group - Uzbekistan, Japan and Vietnam - each have three points already.
Vietnam, 34th in the latest FIFA women’s football rankings, got off the blocks quickly and took the lead inside the first five minutes after Nguyen Dung raced own the right flank and setup Huynh Nhu, who headed in past goalkeeper Elangbam Panthoi.
World No. 61 India struggled to match up to the pace and intensity of their rivals who created havoc in the Indian half. Huynh Nhu, in fact, could have completed her hat-trick in the first 15 minutes.
The Vietnamese striker had Panthoi beat with another header but the post came to India’s rescue and seconds later Panthoi had to be in full stretch to deny Nhu’s driven free-kick for distance.
Vietnam kept up the pressure and got the second goal through Tran Linh, who dove in to meet Nguyen Thuy’s cross. India’s only meaningful chance of the half came in the 36th minute after Anju Tamang brought down Ritu Rani’s cross near the opposition goal but the danger was cleared before the Indian forward could make something out of it.
In the second half, India head coach Thomas Dennerby made a couple of substitutes to curb Vietnam’s dominance. Sangita Basfore and Astam Oraon came in for Bala Devi and Ashalata Devi, respectively.
The changes, however, did little to increase India’s offensive prowess as Vietnam continued to attack in waves and pegged the Indian players back in their own half.
India trailed 0-3 around the 75-minute mark with Pham Hai Yen beating Panthoi with a header, again. With 10 minutes of regulation time to play, however, India pulled one back with Sandhiya Ranganathan scoring the country's first goal of the tournament.
India will play Uzbekistan next on Wednesday at the Milliy Stadium.