The Blue Tigresses played out a frustrating goalless draw against Iran in their campaign opener.
India will take on Chinese Taipei in their second match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium on January 23 (Sunday). Both teams will be looking to leave a mark early on in the game, with India aiming to add to the solitary point they have and Chinese Taipei looking to open their account.
The hosts were held to a disappointing goalless draw against Iran in their first game. The Indian forwards had a flurry of chances, and went very close, even hitting the crossbar in the 79th minute. On the other hand, Chinese Taipei were trounced 4-0 by China, inarguably the strongest team in Group A and one of the favourites to lift the title.
Both teams will look to take home three points. Let’s take a detailed look at the preview.
The Blue Tigresses have faced the Mulan two times in the past, once very recently. In October 2021, India defeated Chinese Taipei 1-0 in an international friendly, courtesy of a goal from Renu in the third minute of the game. Prior to that, these teams had faced each other on May 23, 2013 in an AFC Women’s Cup qualifier. Lai Li-Chin, Yu-Hsui Chin and Sasmita Malik were the goal-scorers in the game that went 2-1 to Chinese Taipei.
With the spoils shared so far and given what’s at stake, both teams will want to go out all guns blazing to win the upcoming fixture. India is currently ranked 55th and Chinese Taipei sit on 39th in the FIFA rankings. The visitors have also lifted the trophy once, and will walk in as favourites.
After the effective attacking prowess shown by the Blue Tigresses, coach Thomas Dennerby would not want to change the system too much. The team is expected to continue in a 4-2-3-1 formation that distorted to a 4-1-3-2, given the amount of space India enjoyed centrally against Iran.
Aditi Chauhan in goal, Ashalata Devi as left centre-back, Dalima Chhibber at right-back and Sanju Yadav at left-back almost choose themselves. Sweety Devi will come back if she’s recovered and fit, but it looks unlikely at the moment and thus, Manisa Panna is expected to continue as the right centre-back. Ratanbala will continue to sit as a screener just in front of the defence.
Accompanying Ratan in the heart of the midfield will be Anju Tamang, who recycled possession well and found wingers and Indumathi Kathiresan – who will continue to start as No. 10 – with consummate ease. Manisha Kalyan will retain her place on the left and Dangmei Grace can be expected to start ahead of Sandhiya Ranganathan on the right.
The striker’s position is up for grabs. Pyari Xaxa did not have the best outings against Iran and Renu, in the handful of minutes she was on the pitch, certainly added to the physicality in the opponent’s box. Renu had also scored the only goal against Taipei in October, so that works in her favour as well. However, given the cohesive understanding Pyari shares with Manisha, Indu and Grace, we believe she will be in the starting line-up.
Kamala Devi could also be a surprise starter as an attacking player, given her ability and experience.
The Mulan had a forgettable outing against China in the first game, losing 4-0. However, they can be expected to return with a roar against the hosts. Cheng Ssu-Yu will continue to be under the bar. Protecting her at the heart of defence will be Su Sin-Yun on the right central position and Lai Wei-Ju on the left.
On the right-back position, Pan Yen-Hsin can be expected to start, after being replaced due to a precautionary scare in the last game. If she doesn’t start, Wu Kai-ching is expected to take her place. On the left, Pan Shin-Yu is a certainty. Chang Su-Hsin, who was in a more defensive role against China, can be expected to marshal the midfield. Hsu Yi-Yun will be the box-to-box midfielder, a player who loves to attack empty spaces.
Zhuo Li-Ping is set to start as the right winger while Chen Yen-Ping can be expected to take the left. Centrally, Lai Li-Chin will be the creator-in-chief, just behind Su Yu-Hsuan, who missed two good opportunities in the last game. Against India, Hsuan would be hoping to set the record straight and open her account.
Thomas Dennerby (coach – India)
“It’s not time for that (focusing on the table) yet. Chinese Taipei lost to China, but they are a good team, and we need to play well against them,” the Indian head coach said ahead of the game.
Kazuo Echigo (Chinese – Taipei)
“Our players need to recover after this tiring game (against China) first. Last October, we lost against India in a match, so we need to take revenge and we have motivation,” the Chinese Taipei head coach stated.
Aditi (GK); Dalima, Manisa, Ashalata (C), Sanju; Ratanbala, Anju, Dangmei, Indu, Manisha; Pyari
Ssu-Yu (GK); Yen-Hsin, Sin-Yun, Wei-Ju, Shin-Yu; Su-Hsin, Yi-Yun; Yen-Ping, Li-Chin (C), Li-Ping; Yu-Hsuan
Player to watch out
Indumathi Kathiresan (India)
Playing just behind the striker, Indu had a free role against Iran. At the end of the game, her average position was ahead of Pyari and Renu – such was her constant presence in the box. The Indian No. 12 combined well with wingers Manisha and Grace. She almost found the back of the net twice in the first half.
The attacking midfielder will be the lynchpin as India tries to find the back of the net for the first time in this tournament.
Lai Li-Chin (Chinese Taipei)
After a frustrating outing against China in which Li-Chin contributed mostly in her own half, she would like to put the front foot in the game against India. A creative force, Li-Chin plays in tandem with the striker and is the set-piece taker in the team. She also possesses a mean shot from distance, and it will be on Ratanbala Devi to keep her in check.
The Women’s Asian Cup 2022 Group A match between India and Chinese Taipei will take place at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday. The Kick-off will happen at 7:30 PM IST. Eurosport and Jio TV will live telecast live the game.