In a friendly match played at the UAE FA Stadium in Dubai on Monday evening, the Indian senior women’s football team was defeated by Tunisia by a solitary goal. The Indian women had their first chance as early as the second minute, but rival goalkeeper Mariem managed to keep it out as Manisha attempted to flick in Dalima Chibber’s cross. Tunisia took the lead six minutes later when Heuij scored from a free-kick. Stung, India launched a barrage of attacks in an attempt to reestablish parity. Manisha ran down the left flank and sent in a cross in the 11th minute, but the opposing defense cleared it. Mariem soon after collected another cross from Sanju.
After about ten minutes, Indumathi tried to put it in from outside the penalty box, but it went wide. The Indian women preferred to play amongst themselves, and Manisha’s free-kick in the 31st minute went wide. Another free-kick, this time from Dalima, sailed wide in the 40th minute. Tunisia, who had been holding on until then, launched a counter-attack in the 63rd minute, which could have helped them double their lead had Shreya not made a reflex save. In the 68th minute, head coach Thomas Dennerby made another substitution, this time replacing Indumathi in midfield with Sandhiya. Six minutes later, Sandhiya maneuvered herself into some open space and attempted to take a photograph, but Mariem snubbed her. As if that wasn’t enough, Mariem also denied Pyari in the 75th minute after the nimble forward slipped in between the opposing defense. The Indian women’s team had previously defeated the UAE 4-1 in a friendly match in Dubai, with Manisha Kalyan, Pyari Xaxa, Sweety Devi, and Anju Tamang each scoring one goal.
The team will now travel to Bahrain, where they will face Bahrain and Chinese Taipei. The matches are part of India’s preparations for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 and are the squad’s first exposure tour under head coach Thomas Dennerby, who trained the squad in Jamshedpur for a month with support from the Government of Jharkhand.