A six -goal second half blitz ,enabled Japan inflict 7-0 humiliating defeat on India in its opening Group C match of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers second round at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent on Thursday.
Yoshino Nakashima (17’, 46’) netted a brace for Japan before Honoka Hayashi (53’), Mina Tanaka (54’), Miyabi Moriya (56’), Kiko Seike (73’) and Hikaru Naomoto (81’) scored the other goals for the Asian Games champions.
The loss against London 2012 Olympic silver medalists Japan puts India on the back foot early in the tournament. Only the top teams from three groups (A–C), along with the best runners-up, qualify for the final round of the Paris Olympic qualifiers scheduled in February.
Asia’s top-ranked side at world No. 8, Japan,dominated from the start but India beefed up their defence and did well not to concede an early goal.
India, 61st in the world rankings, did show positive intent in patches. as midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan went for goal in the 10th minute from outside the box but it was cleared to
safety by the Japanese defence.
Goalkeeper Shreya Hooda, meanwhile, was in the thick of the action with the game mostly restricted in India’s half. She was finally beaten in the 17th minute by Yoshino Nakashima, who made a quick run from the left and chipped the ball into the top corner for Japan’s first goal.
Japan continued to look for more goals but some resilient defending helped India go into half-time with just one goal deficit against the 2011 world champions.
After a decent first-half defensively, India conceded the second goal of the match within two minutes of the second half. Yoshino Nakashima, once again, hit the back of the net after a slew of passes from Japanese players inside the penalty box.
The floodgates opened for Japan soon after that and despite Shreya Hooda making a couple of good saves, Japan’s Honoka Hayashi, Mina Tanaka and Miyabi Moriya scored a goal each in the next 10 minutes to make it 5-0.
India made three changes by introducing Priyangka Devi for Shilky Devi, Grace Dangmei for Indumathi Kathiresan and Manisa Panna for Dalima Chhibber in the next few minutes. However, the substitutions made little difference to Japan, who pumped in two more goals through Kiko Seike and Hikaru Naomoto.
India will face Vietnam at the same venue on Sunday before playing Uzbekistan on November 1 at Milliy Stadium. Vietnam are world No. 34 while Uzbekistan are ranked 50th.
The first round of the AFC Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament was played in April. India beat the Kyrgyz Republic 5-0 and 4-0 in the two-legged playoff in Bishkek to qualify for the second round.