Riding Sunil Chhetri’s 85th-minute penalty, India defeated Bangladesh 1-0 in their Group A encounter at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Thursday.
With the win, India put their campaign and their fate for qualification firmly back into their own hands, with a final game against Myanmar to be played on Sunday.
After the chastening loss to hosts China, Igor Stimac’s boys were back against their familiar South Asian foes, a team who have actually been a tough one to break down for India.
Right from the start, it was clear that grit, not guile, would help eke out a result.
In the ninth minute, Rohit Danu and Rahul KP combined to put the ball at the feet of Chhetri. The skipper’s shot, though, was deflected wide.
India’s winger Bryce Miranda caught the eye. He tirelessly ran at defenders and constantly made the Bangladeshi players second-guess their options.
Miranda earned the penalty when he was brought down inside the box by Rahmat Mia. The referee pointed to the spot, despite their protestations.
Chhetri, the senior pro, took the ball and slotted it home, low and hard into the bottom left.
From thereon, India did not lose their heads and the lead. The three points put them back on track for qualification from the group.
India’s campaign in women’s football started on a disappointing note after an impressive first half as higher-ranked Taiwan rallied to win 2-1.
The Thomas Dennerby-coached side took the lead when Anju Tamang scored in the 47th minute.