New Delhi: India went down 1-6 to Brazil in the opening game of the women's international football tournament at the Amazon Arena in Manaus, Brazil, on Thursday, with Manisha Kalyan's goal in the eighth minute being the only bright spot in the humbling loss.
Manisha's equaliser, along with goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan's performance, on a night when the hosts were in sublime form, gave India some positives to take into the next game.
The hosts got off to a flying start and took the lead in the first minute when defender Daiana's long ball found skipper Debinha whose initial effort was saved by Chauhan but the Indian custodian could do nothing about the rebound.
The Indian women roared back seven minutes later with a thrilling counter-attack to level the scores. Manisha, who plays for Gokulam Kerala FC, picked up the ball on the left in her own half and ran the length of the field before finishing clinically into the far post bottom corner.
Manisha had another opportunity in the 26th minute to give India the lead on another counter-attack but her shot was blocked.
Brazil created better opportunities, and in the 36th minute, they surged into the lead when Ariadina 'Ary' Borges ran down the right-wing and found Duda with a cutback. The ball bounced off, and Giovana Costa was on hand to slot it into the net.
Changing over, a quick-fire double at the start of the second half put Brazil in a commanding position to see the game out. Ary made it 1-3 in the 52nd minute when she cut in from the left and curled it past Aditi into the far corner. Two minutes later, Kerolin Ferraz ran onto a pass from substitute Geyse Ferreira and smashed it into the roof of the net.
Geyse then got in on the act herself as a blocked shot from the edge of the box fell to her feet and she made no mistake from close range in the 76th minute. Five minutes later, Ary got her second of the match as she tapped in a rebound after Formiga's shot was saved.
India head coach Thomas Dennerby was impressed with Manisha's goal, terming it "one of the highest quality on a football pitch". "Individually, it is a top-class goal. It gave us a boost after conceding early on and that allowed us to come back," he said.
Defensively, Dennerby felt India could have done better while clearing the ball. "We did not concede because we were out of position. There were some weak clearances so we need to be stronger with those because you cannot afford that against such quality teams," he said.
Overall, the 62-year-old stressed on taking the positives out of a fixture against one of the best teams in the world.
"Losing to Brazil is nothing to be ashamed of. We take the good things with us. It was a huge experience for them and that will help in the upcoming games," he said.
India will next face Chile on Monday.