Indian women's football team put up a spirited fight but could not avoid its second consecutive loss, going down 1-2 to Chinese Taipei in a group D encounter of the AFC Women's Asian Cup (Qualifiers) at the Faisal Al Huseni Stadium here.
The Indian eves desperately needed a win in the match to stay in the hunt for a place in the AFC Cup but their dreams were dealt a blow despite playing some admirable football thoroughly enjoyed by locals.
Yu Hsiu Chin (43rd minute) and Lai Li Chin (81st minute) scored for Taipei while Sasmita Malik gave India their only goal in the 53rd minute.
The result put Chinese Taipei at six points from two matches while India, inspite of spirited displays, remain without a point.
If the twice SAFF Champions won the tactical battle in the first half, they were by far the better side in the second period.
Head Coach Anadi Barua's ploy of playing deep and attacking on the counter paid off as Chinese Taipei, which scored six goals against Palestine in their opening game, were bottled up by India's defence for most part of the first essay.
The second half belonged to India and especially Sasmita Malik whose world-class free kick in the 53rd minute left the motley crowd on a pleasant evening in Palestine awestruck.
India started the better team in the opening exchanges and Taipei were allowed virtually no space in the danger zone.
Sweeper back Ashalata Devi's alacrity came to the fore time and again. Her crucial block in the 8th minute kept Hsiu Chin's powerful right-footer at bay.
The women in blue had a few half-chances to draw first blood as well on the counter. Former India Captain Oinam Bembem Devi's free kick was fisted away, and Kamala Devi's shot went inches wide as the match neared its half-way mark.
However, the first shock for the Indian eves came out of the blue when striker Yu Hsiu Chin bundled in Lai Li Chin's floater over the line moments before the half time whistle to give Taipei the lead.
Switching to a 4-4-2 formation from the initial 5-4-1, India started the second half on a bright note.
Bembem Devi's low drive from just outside the box kissed the crossbar on its way out. Stopper back Ashem Romi Devi, playing her first match of the AFC Cup, made way for striker Pinky Bompal Magar.
India were breaching their rival defence more often, and in the 53rd minute of the match they got their reward.
It was a piece of brilliance from winger Sasmita Malik who earned and converted her freekick to perfection from the right side of the penalty area into the far left corner of Cheng Ssu Yu's goal. The 30-yard curler was a class apart.
Li Chin's goal, nine minutes from time, broke many neutral hearts who all the while were enjoying the ball possession and swift flankplay displayed by India.
In the other match of the day, Myanmar blanked Palestine 9-0.
Striker Yee Yee Oo found the back of the net seven times with six of them coming in the second half when Myanmar ran riot against a hapless Palestine.
Khin Moe Wai, scorer in the last match as well, notched up a brace.
Myanmar has gone to six points from two matches while the hosts Palestine are still to open their account.