IWL: Jeppiaar holds Alakhpura, ESU thrashes Aizawl

Ritu Rani’s 34th minute strike for Alakhpura was cancelled by Sandhiya’s 44th minute goal as as Alakhpura and Jeppiaar shared the spoils of battle.

ESU's Kamala Devi (centre) dribbles past two Aizawl defenders.   -  AIFF Media

Alakhpura FC, former Subroto Cup winner, was held to a 1-1 draw by Puducherry-based Jeppiaar IT FC in the ongoing edition of the inaugural Indian Women’s League (IWL) at the Ambedkar Stadium in the Capital on Monday.

Ritu Rani’s 34th minute strike for Alakhpura was cancelled by Sandhiya’s 44th minute goal as both teams shared the spoils of battle.

Jeppiaar IT FC took an explosive start and could have taken the lead early on but Sandhiya’s 4th minute shot rattled the woodwork and came back into play, after she had missed from close range in the 2nd minute.

Alakhpura fazed by the early setback tried to play defensively but almost paid the price in the 22nd minute when Sandhiya ran clear of her marking defender and chipped an onrushing custodian, only to see her shot going inches wide of the goal.

In the 34th minute, Alakhpura took the lead against run of play when Ritu’s shot from distance hit the crossbar and went in, much to the opposition custodian’s amazement as she was left star-struck.

However, Jeppiaar FC came back stronger and equalized in the 44th minute when Sandhiya scored from a tight angle to make it all square going into the half-time.

After the break, it was Alakhpura which called the shots and dominated possession in an attempt to break the Jeppiaar’s defence. With Jeppiaar committing bodies behind, the task became herculean.

In the 53rd minute Sanju fostered a half-chance as her half-volley from outside the box could only test the opposition custodian.

Becoming overly cautious, both the Teams tried to outfox each other but could only contain the opponent. Deepika came close to scoring in the 70th minute but her shot could only flash close to the goal.

The full-time scoreline read 1-1 as both teams shared points.

EASTER UNION TOO STRONG FOR AIZAWL

Eastern Sporting Union (ESU) hammered Aizawl FC 3-0 to take the pole position in the IWL, courtesy of superior goal difference. The team is tied on points (nine from four matches) with Rising Student’s Club.

Goals from Kamala Devi (24’), Mandakini Devi (70’) and Kashmina (77’) led ESU to an easy win over its opponent which gave little resistance.

Kamala Devi could have found the net twice for Eastern Sporting Union in under 10 minutes but her efforts lacked motivation. First, in the 4th minute her header lacked venom and was easily picked up by the opposition custodian. Then her shot from inside the box failed to find its intended target in the 7th minute, following a Bembem through ball.

With ESU setting the tempo for the match, Aizawl FC tried to attack on counters but the defensive pairing of Radharani and Umapati thwarted their attempts with ease.

The ESU defence further squeezed the Aizawl FC attackforce and such was the domination of ESU that the game was literally being played in Aizawl FC’s half, with a rare long ball or clearance disrupting their flow.

Better late than never and Kamala Devi opened the goal scoring charts for ESU as her 24th minute shot following a one touch play with Mandakini Devi ended in the back of the net.

ESU could have doubled its lead in the dying embers of the first half but Kamala Devi failed to put a decisive touch of Bembem’s cross. The half-time scoreline read 1-0.

A minute into the second half and ESU’s Mandakini Devi cut in from the left flank and unleashed a shot, which went inches past the post as ESU continued to stamp their dominance in the match.

In the 70th minute Mandakini Devi took advantage of an uncanny clearance and scored to double ESU’s lead. Kamala Devi’s shot a minute later could have tripled ESU’s advantage if it had found the net and not the side-netting.

The Aizawl FC defence seemed to scatter away everytime the ball fell to an ESU Player. Kashmina added another to add gloss to the scoreline in the 77th minute as the full-time scoreline read 3-0 in ESU’s favour.

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