A brace from substitute Pyari Xaxa enabled a dominant Indian womens team to beat Malaysia by two goals in an international friendly at the MP Selayang Stadium here on Monday.
After a barren first half, Pyari scored in the 79th and the 86th minutes. India’s dominance was complete all through, and except for a brief spell in the second half, Malaysia didn’t have much to boast about in the match.
The first half was totally one-sided. India’s burst right from the kick-off caught Malaysia unaware. There was a flurry of attacks from the wings as well as down the middle and Malaysia just defended in desperation. It was the perfect start for India.
In the fourth minute, Grace dribbled her way into the box but her shot went straight to rival Goalkeeper Nurul Azurin. The very next moment, Dalima Chhibber’s shot from outside the box also went straight to Nurul. The first corner followed, as early as in the 8th minute.
The first ten minutes set the momentum for the rest of the half. But despite all the dominance, India were unable to convert it into goals. Too much excitement forced players to take a crack from long even when their teammates were in the clear, and at times they preferred to hold on to for long, enabling the rival defence to outnumber them.
India’s best chance came in the 24th minute when an acrobatic Nurul dived full length to deny Kamala Devi’s header from entering the net and then in the 27th minute, even as Nurul missed the flight of a Prameshwori Devi free-kick, it was headed out off the line by defender Eslilah Esar.
India coach Maymol Rocky did bring in her first substitution in the 28th minute — Anju Tamang coming in for a subdued Sanju. Anju did add to the thrust but Malaysia were able to hold on as both teams headed to interval locked goalless.
Changing over, Malaysia were faster off the blocks. For the first 10 minutes, India chased as the Malaysian girls, fresh from the break played in the gaps. But the spell didn’t last long.
India, in their quest to recover, slowed down proceedings to eventually frustrate the hosts. Even as most of India’s attacks were down the right, it was Prameshwori on the left who created something out of nothing most of the times she had the ball.
In the 67th minute, substitute Pyari Xaxa’s grounder, a tracer bullet went straight to Nurul.
Three minutes later as Malaysia’s Malini hit the post, it perhaps inspired Pyari to better her — the speedy striker feinting past her marker and placing it into the net in the 79th minute.
In the 83rd minute, Bala leapt higher than all to meet Dalima’s corner but it rebounded off the post. But it didn’t matter much as Pyari scored her second in the 86th minute.