Turkish Women's Cup 2024: India triumphs over Estonia in opening clash of the Turkish campaign

The Blue Tigresses, locked at 1-1 at halftime, displayed resilience as they triumphed over a UEFA confederation team for the first time.

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Payal Debnath
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Turkish Women's Cup 2024: India triumphs over Estonia in opening clash of the Turkish campaign

Indian players celebrate a goal against Estonia in the Turkish Women's Cup 2024.

In a historic feat, the Chaoba Devi-led Indian senior women's team clinched a hard-fought 4-3 victory against Estonia on Wednesday in the Turkish Women's Cup 2024.

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The Blue Tigresses, locked at 1-1 at halftime, displayed resilience as they triumphed over a UEFA confederation team for the first time in official Turkish Women's Cup competition.

Played at the scenic Gold City Sports Complex in Alanya, Turkey, Manisha Kalyan's early goal set the tone for India. After Estonia drew level in the 32nd minute off a goal by Lisette Tammik, a rampaging India struck thrice through Indumathi Kathiresan (62'), Pyari Xaxa (79'), and Manisha (81') again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

Pyari Xaxa played an important role for the Indian Women's Football team against Etonia in the Turkish Women's Cup 2024.
Pyari Xaxa played an important role for the Indian Women's Football team against Etonia in the Turkish Women's Cup 2024.

Just as it appeared that the Indian girls were on their way to a resounding victory, Estonia made a last-ditch effort to equalise, scoring twice through Vlada Kubassova (88') and Mari Liis Lillemae (90'). The Indian defense, under pressure in the dying moments, held firm to secure the historic win. Chaoba Devi's strategic adjustments and the team's resilience showcased their determination.

India began the match intending to hit Estonia on the counter, using its speedy wingers, while letting Estonia drive deeper into the box. Manisha initiated an India move with a clever back-heel to Pyari, who put Anju Tamang through behind the opposition defence this time. A melee ensued inside the Estonia box. As Anju's shot was blocked, Manisha collected the ball and drove it in from the near post from a narrow angle.

India ceded more control of the ball to Estonia after taking the lead and paid the price for it, a little after the half-hour mark. Vlada Kubassova sent in an accurate cross from the left, which Tammik nodded in. Chaoba Devi's side tightened the screws as it came out in the second half, enforcing a mid-block, which meant that Estonia could no longer control the proceedings in the middle of the park.

Indumathi celebrating her goal against Estonia in the Turskish Women's Cup 2024.
Indumathi celebrating her goal against Estonia in the Turskish Women's Cup 2024.

And India finally took the lead a little after the hour mark through Indumathi. Soumya Guguloth initiated the attack on the right, passing it to Anju, who squared it to Pyari, who, in turn, laid it off for Indumathi at the edge of the box. The India midfielder unleashed a left-footed shot that snuck into the bottom corner. In the 79th minute, Soumya snatched the ball in the middle and threaded a through ball, which was latched on by Pyari. The Odisha FC forward barged into the box along the right, cut inside, and buried the ball into the bottom-left corner to double India's lead.

Two minutes later, Manisha added the fourth, controlling a cross by Sandhiya Ranganathan and scoring at the near post. Though Estonia's late surge saw Kubassova and Lillemmae reduce the deficit to just one goal at the end of regulation time, India managed to run the game down to earn a well-fought victory against the European team.

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India's next challenge of Turkish Women's Cup 2024 awaits against Hong Kong on Saturday, February 24, with Kosovo completing the four-team round-robin tournament lineup.

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