Gokulam Kerala FC’s title defence with a goalless draw by Sethu FC in the opening match of the Indian Women’s League 2023-24 at the EMS Corporation Stadium on Friday.
Sethu’scoach Kanan Vitthal Priolkar returned to the dressing room a satisfied man. He had spoken about his ambition to snatch a point in the away outing and he achieved his purpose successfully.
Sethu, the 2018-19 IWL champion, executed its game plan perfectly but was certainly assisted by the uncertainty displayed by Gokulam at the upfront. Unlike the free-flowing side it was last season, the home side often looked clueless despite having the lion’s share of the exchanges.
Yet the show could have been different—for Gokulam, at least.
The likes of Soumya Guguloth, Anju Tamang and Ghanaian Veronica Appiah were the better players, with more imagination and approach to situations. But all their good work went haywire in the attacking third, much to the relief of Sethu.
While Gokulam showered crosses from both flanks at regular intervals, Sethu kept the left flank well-guarded, with most of the crosses being misdirected in front of goal.
The match would be a lesson for the most successful team in the league as it meets the same side in six days, with hopes of getting maximum points at the national capital.
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