The Blue Tigresses failed to covert their chances.

India began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign with a stalemate against debutants Iran. Both sides held their nerves throughout 90 minutes and added a point each to their names to get their campaign underway. Iran started the match on the front foot and dominated the first quarter, but it was India that took complete control of the game from then on.

The hosts looked dominant and created plenty of chances, but it was a tale of missed and unconverted chances for them until the full-time whistle. On that note, let us take a look at how the players performed in the second match of Group A.

India ratings by Yash Pratap Singh

Aditi Chauhan – 7.0

Aditi began the tournament with a hard-fought clean sheet. She made three collections and pulled off an important save. She also made one mistake, but Manisa came to her rescue with a goalline clearance. The India number 1 was excellent with her ball distribution against Iran.

Dalima Chhibber – 8.0

Dalima was solid at the right-back position and made a couple of very important blocks and interceptions. Moreover, she went high up the pitch and sent in dangerous crosses into the final third regularly.

Manisha Panna – 8.0

She accompanied Ashalata pretty well in the heart of India’s defence. Manisha set up Dangmei for a clear-cut header, but the keeper stood tall. She put a couple of crucial interceptions and thwarted a clear change, making a goal-line clearance.

The captain led from the front and was solid at the back (Courtesy: AFC Media)

Ashalata Devi – 7.5

The India skipper managed to keep Iran’s attackers at bay with her good positioning and solid defending. She put three important clearances across the two halves. The captain also delivered some delicious long balls.

Sanju Yadav – 8.0

Sanju worked her socks off across the left-hand side of the pitch. She went high up the pitch to contribute in attack and also tracked back in time to cover up. Moreover, she tested the keeper with a long ranger in the second half.

Ratanbala Devi – 8.0

She won majority of her duels in the middle of the park and also initiated attacking moves for the Blue Tigresses. Ratan executed three key passes and also attempted a left-footed volley on target. She was the clock that kept India’s midfield ticking.

Anju Tamang – 7.5

Anju played the role of a proper number eight and controlled the tempo for India. She entered the box on a few occasions and also tried her luck. Moreover, she also put in two sweet corners. However, she needs to improve her link-up play.

Indumathi Kathiresan – 8.0

Indumathi played behind Pyari in the hole and looked very threatening with her moves. Her creative finesse was on display, but she left her shooting boots at home. She was on the end of three big chances, but couldn’t convert any of those. She won the ball several times and executed four key passes.

Manisha Kalyan
Kalyan has a number of good opportunities to put India ahead (Courtesy: AFC Media)

Manisha Kalyan – 7.5

Manisha looked very lively until her final moment on the pitch. She caused regular problems to Iran’s defence with her swift and fast movements down the left wing. The teenager sent in good-looking crosses and created plenty of chances from the left-flank.

Pyari Xaxa – 6.0

Pyari led the attacking line as a number nine and missed chances aplenty. She almost scored a goal, but couldn’t connect to a low cross from Kalyan and the ball went wide. She was decent with her passing against Iran, but failed to convert the important chances for India.

Sandhiya Rangnathan – 6.0

Sandy had a busy outing and did a decent job on the right flank. She did her work very well defensively, but looked out of sync in the attacking third. She was found out in space several times on the right side of the pitch, but couldn’t find players with her crosses.

Substitutes

Dangmei Grace – 8.0

She came on and made a massive difference on the right flank for India. Dangmei caused all sorts of problems for Iran, but failed to convert from point blank in the 77th minute. She also created two chances, but there weren’t converted.

Renu – NA

Renu came on for Pyari late in the second half and couldn’t make much of a difference.

Shilky Devi – NA

She came on for Ratanbala for the final few minutes and didn’t make much of an impact.

Sumati Kumari – NA

She replaced Manisha Kalyan. Sumati took a shot from inside the box, which went off-target but contributed in defence.

Iran Ratings by Shivam Tiwari

Zehreh Koudaei
The Iran goalkeeper starred against India with some terrific saves (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Zohreh Koudaei – 9

She had to surge forward to get to the long balls played for the Indian forwards. Koudaei made a mistake in the 31st minute, but kept the door shut for most of the game. She also made an important save in the 77th minute to keep the scores level. She was basically the reason why Iran walked away with a point against India.

Fatemeh Adeli – 8

The star of the Iranian backline, Fatemeh Adeli was crucial in keeping the score at a stalemate. She continuously won her duels against Manisha and kept her from reaching the through balls played by the midfield. It was Fatemeh’s clearance that parried away the danger when Koudei couldn’t catch the ball. Fatemeh’s long balls were as crucial as her defending. She forced a poor back-pass from her long ball early in the game to get Negin in a 1v1 situation with Aditi Chauhan.

Ghazaleh Banitalebi – 7

Ghazaleh was the partner of Fatemeh Adeli at the centre of the Iranian defence. She surged forward to challenge Pyari for a long ball in the 35th minute. However, she couldn’t win the duel and left acres of space behind her for Indumati Kathiresan to exploit. Was a strong presence otherwise.  

Melika Motevalli – 6

The Iranian number four was playing at right-back. Melika Motevalli’s most notable moment of the game came in the 52nd minute of the game. She went to intervene a through pass through a sliding challenge. However, she failed, and the Indians created a big chance through a cross for Pyari Xaxa.

Behnaz Taherkhani – 6.5

The captain of the Iranian side, Behnaz, was the calmer of the two Iranian full-backs playing. She kept things tight on the left half of the Iranian defence. The Indian forwards failed to get past the 26-year-old as she kept winning the aerial duels. However, Grace Dangmei got the best of her through her movements and dribbling abilities since coming on.

Melika Mohammadi – 6.5

Melika played as the holding midfielder for the Iranians. She kept looking for Samaneh Chakandi on the right flank every time she got the ball. However, the Bam Khatoon FC midfielder kept hold of the ball for far too long at times, leading to dispossessions right in front of the Iranian defence.

Sana Sadeghi – 7.5

Sana Sadeghi operated in the box-to-box midfielder role. She made a crucial tactical foul in the 68th minute of the game to prevent the Indians from launching a counterattack. The Iranian number 23 went into the referee’s book for the challenge. She was left with little help in the midfield because of Hajar Dabbaghi’s free role.

Hajar Dabbaghi – 8

Hajar Dabbaghi played as a free-roaming midfielder behind the Iranian forward line. She played a through ball for Negin, dissecting two Indian defenders in the 37th minute. Had the Iranian youngster timed her run well, she would have found herself in a 1v1 situation against the Indian custodian. She was involved in a duel in the Iranian box in the 39th minute. She showed courage to block an attempt by taking a hit on her face, preventing a shot on goal.

Zahra Sarbali – 6.5

Zahra Sarbali, playing as the left-winger, was isolated for most of the game by the Indians. However, she did make it up for her absence in attack through her work rate. The 28-year-old dropped into midfield whenever the Indians had possession of the ball to help fill numbers.

Negin Zandi – 8.5

Negin Zandi was the best Iranian player on the pitch and perhaps, the best young talent on display on the day. She showed excellent control of the ball and timed smart runs behind India’s defence. She received the ball in the final third of the pitch on several instances to carry it into the Indian defensive box. However, she was left wanting by her poor decision making.

Samaneh Chahkandi – 7.5

Samaneh Chahkandi was her team’s best ball progressor on the night. She combined well with Negin on several instances to trouble the Indian defence. She acted as the outlet whenever the Iranians were pinned back by the Indian midfield.

Substitutions

Afsaneh Chatrenoor – NA

She replaced Negin Zandi in the 89th minute.

Sara Zohrabinia – 6.5

Sara Zohrabinia was brought into the game to create chances, and she showed good composure in the 20 minutes she had. However, the Indian defence was too compact for her to create any major chances.

Yasaman Farmani – 6

Yasaman Farmani replaced Sana Sadeghi. The Iranian number 13 played a deeper role than Sana and provided the Iranian midfield with fresh legs.

Nikkah Marzieh – 5

Samaneh Chahkandi made way for Nikkah in the 59th minute of the game. However, she failed to impact the game as much as Samaneh could. The Iranians failed to create any big opportunity for themselves from Nikkah’s flank.

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