AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The Indian Women’s Team’s campaign in the COTIF Cup 2019 came to an end with a 0-2 loss at the hands of Spain U-19 team, who were down to 10 players in Valencia in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Jana Fernandez and Irene Lopez scored the two goals for the Spaniards, as India wrapped up their group stage with two wins and as many losses from the four games.
The Spain U-19 opened the scoring within the first quarter of an hour through Jana Fernandez, who smashed a belter of a volley from outside the box into the top corner of the Indian goal.
Spain’s joy was short-lived, however, as their keeper Elene Lete Para was sent off after she handled the ball outside the penalty box. The Indians, now with the numerical advantage, launched into the attack, and forward Bala Devi came extremely close to levelling the scores in the 27th minute.
Running on to the through ball from the right side of the box, the 29-year-old put her laces through the ball, aiming for the far post. However, she only managed to send her shot crashing into the upright, as it bounced back into play. Ratanbala was close at hand for the rebound, but she could not react in time to turn it in.
The half-time break came at just the right time for the Spaniards, who were able to recharge their batteries, and rethink their strategies. Asun Martinez had the perfect chance to double their lead after the restart, as she was played in via a delicate through ball that split the Indian defence. While her initial shot hit the crossbar, she made her way back to the ball after another rebound, but managed to strike the same crossbar that had impeded Bala from scoring in the first half.
Soon after, winger Sanju Yadav hit a well-struck free-kick from 30 yards out, but the ball went inches over the Spanish Crossbar.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Spain had the perfect chance to double their lead after Dangmei Grace bundled Asuncion Martinez Salinas over inside the box, as the referee pointed to the spot.
Irene Lopez stepped up to the spot and slotted in the ensuing penalty to make it 2-0 for the Spaniards.
India (Starting XI): Aditi Chauhan (GK), Sweety Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Ashalata Devi (C), Sangita Basfore, Sanju, Ratanbala Devi, Bala Devi, Manisha, Ranjana Chanu, Ritu Rani.