India is set to host the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup for the first time after 1979, a tournament which turned out to be memorable for the women.
The 1979 Women’s Asian Cup was held in Calicut (Kozhikode) in January 1980. Six teams participated in the league-cum-knockout tournament that was held across nine days at the EMS Corporation Stadium. All games lasted 60 minutes each, with all teams playing each other once in the group stage. Each win fetched a team two points and a draw meant that the two points were split. The top four sides were to qualify for the semi-final.
India was represented by two teams - India S and India N. India S was the country's first XI while India N was the second-string team. The latter won just one game and hence endured a tournament to forget. Ayona scored their only goal in the tournament in a 1-0 win over Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, India S enjoyed a great run in the group stage with three wins and two draws.
They started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Western Australia. First-half goals from Shanti Mullick and Shukla Dutta sealed the deal as the defence did well to keep a clean-sheet.
They followed this promising performance with a 2-0 win over Hong Kong. This time, Yolanda D’Souza got on the scoresheet in the seventh minute. An own-goal just five minutes later provided the hosts with a massive advantage for the rest of the game, which they protected very well.
After a goalless stalemate against Chinese Taipei, India S returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over India N. Dutta doubled her tally for the tournament with a goal at the hour-mark and India N could not find a reply for the lone goal.
With seven points in four games, India S had already qualified for the semi-final ahead of their final group stage tie against Malaysia. But a 0-0 draw ensured their unbeaten run in the tournament was intact.
India S hence finished second in the league phase with eight points from five games. Chinese Taipei topped with nine points while India N ended at the tail with just two points.
The hosts drew fourth-placed Hong Kong in the single-leg semi-final tie. Both sides had no rest days between their final group stage game and the crucial knockout tie.
India S were 3-1 winners in the semis, with goals from Dutta, Sushma Das and Yolanda overwhelming Poon Shui-Chun’s lone goal. Dutta hence became the top-scorer for the tournament with three goals to her name.
Elsewhere, Chinese Taipei smashed Western Australia 5-0 to storm into the final. Yet again, both finalists had no days to rest their legs, with the finals scheduled on the day following their semi-final wins.
The hosts’ dream run concluded with a silver medal after 2-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei. A goal in each half helped them win their first Women’s Asian Cup.