New Delhi, The Indian women’s football squad kicked-off its COITF Cup 2019 campaign with a 0-2 loss at the hands of Spanish side Villarreal CF in Valencia, Spain, on Thursday. Sheila Gomez and Nazaret Padron were the two goalscorers for the Yellow Submarines, while Bala Devi came close to pulling one back for India in the second half.
The Spaniards got off to a quick start, by virtue of a rather scrappy goal from Gomez, who tucked a misjudged clearance by the Indian defence into the near post, after it was crossed in by Sara Hilgado. India did have a couple of chances to draw level in the first half.
The best one came around the half-way mark of the first half, when Sanju Yadav leapt higher
than her marker to nod in a corner but saw her header go wide. India took some initiative after the change of ends, swiftly closing down the opposition back-four. Soon after the restart, the Spaniards gave away a free-kick around 20 yards out.
While Sanju provided the decoy run, Ratanbala Devi put her laces through the ball, which was aimed low and hard into the bottom corner. However, it was parried away by the goalkeeper. Minutes later, goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan pulled off a stunning save off a free-kick by Bea
Prades from the edge of the area, to keep the Indians in the hunt.
With a little over 10 minutes of the 70-minutes game to go, Bala Devi had, perhaps the best chance of the game for India, as she surged into the Villarreal box and tucked it past the keeper. Unfortunately, however, it ricocheted off the far post and went out of play.
However, Nazaret secured the scoreline for the Yellow Submarines as she entered the Indian
box from the left and slotted it in, with less than eight minutes to go. India are next set to face Bolivia on Saturday, August 3, at 11.30 pm IST.