AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers: India draw with Vietnam, eliminated on goal difference
India settled for a 1-1 draw against hosts Vietnam to be knocked out of contention for Round 2 of the AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers, here on Saturday.
Needing a win in their final Group F match to make the cut, India drew first blood through Babina Devi's 12th minute strike. But the goal was cancelled out by Tran Nhat Lan (45+2nd).
Both teams finished on seven points from three matches each in the four-team group.
However, India (+13) were knocked out because of their inferior goal difference with Vietnam (+14).
India won against Singapore and Indonesia in their opening two fixtures, and it all boiled down to their final round group clash against the hosts.
The game kicked off with India in the ascendancy, the hosts' nervousness evident in their inability to string clean passes in the midfield.
In the 12th minute, Babina Devi produced a moment of magic when she picked up a half-cleared header from Neha's cross around 30 yards from goal, took a neat first touch and let fly.
The ball rocketed into the top left corner, Vietnam goalkeeper Danh Thi Kieu My's fingers grasping at it but unable to do much more.
Shocked and a bit dazed, Vietnam started stringing together passes and controlling more of the game, while India looked happy to sit back and play on the counter.
Right on the stroke of half time, Vietnam had their reward. The ball fell to Tran Nhat Lan, who let fly only to see her shot bounce off the post.
Fortuitously, the rebound went through several shirts and fell back to her. This time, she turned, twisted and placed the ball into the opposite corner to draw her team level.
Vietnam slowed the game down in the second period, drawing fouls, and turning the match into a rather dull affair.
Coach Maymol Rocky's two substitutes Sumati Kumari and Mousumi Murmu brought some much-needed vigour to a floundering front line, but were unable to pierce the Vietnam defence.
India thus crashed out despite being unbeaten in three games.
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