The Indian women’s football team faced a 0-3 defeat against Uzbekistan in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers, marking the end of their journey in the second round of the competition. The match took place at Tashkent’s Bunyodkor Stadium on November 1, 2023.
In a group featuring four teams, India had previously suffered losses to Japan and Vietnam. In this match, Uzbekistan, fueled by the home crowd’s support, immediately applied pressure and dominated possession. The stakes were clear: a victory for Uzbekistan would put them in contention for the best second-place team slot, while India played for pride and a chance to finish their campaign on a positive note.
Uzbekistan took an early lead within two minutes from a set piece. Karachik Lyudmila’s corner, directed toward the near post, deflected off Khabibullaeva Diyorakhon’s head to the center of the six-yard area, where Kudratova Nilufar used her knee to score, giving Uzbekistan the lead.
The Indian goalkeeper, Shreya Hooda, made several exceptional saves in the first half to prevent Uzbekistan from increasing their lead. Despite the pressure, India managed to keep the scoreline at just 1-0. In the 49th minute, Manisha Kalyan’s shot hit the crossbar, signifying India’s intent to stage a comeback.
However, Uzbekistan maintained their pressure, and in the 51st minute, Karachik scored her second goal, doubling Uzbekistan’s lead with some interplay at the top of the box. She later added a third goal with a long-range shot that found the near post. This 3-0 win provided Uzbekistan with a real chance to progress to the next round of the competition.
Despite India’s exit from the qualifiers, the team showed determination and resilience throughout the tournament, and their participation contributed to the development of women’s football in the region.
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