IWL final: Sethu FC faces Manipur Police SC in clash of titans

Sethu FC and Manipur Police head into the final having been prolific in attack in the tourney so far.

The captains and coaches of Sethu FC and Manipur Police SC pose with the trophy they will be playing for.   -  AIFF Media

The final of the 2018-19 Indian Women’s League is upon us, and it’s Manipur Police SC taking on Sethu FC in a re-match of their Group II fixture. The two clubs have arguably been the best sides in the tournament so far, reaching the final on the back of some magnificent wins.

Sethu has a perfect record (played 6, won 6) coming into the final, while Manipur Police's only defeat came against the team it faces in Wednesday's final.

Manipur Police has been in red-hot goal-scoring form, scoring 41 goals in six matches, including 10-0 victories against SAI-STC Cuttack and Bangalore United. That the team has been prolific in front of goal is down to the mercurial Bala Devi, who has found the back of the net 26 times in six matches, making her the highest goal-scorer in the competition.

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Daya Devi, who has proved to be a versatile player, has played the supporting role for Bala to perfection. The India U-19 international has operated both on the wings and alongside Bala, giving Manipur's opponents a major tactical riddle.

Ahead of the final, Manipur head coach Surmala Chanu said, “In our last match against Sethu, we did not have much of an opportunity to practice together. We had all come together in the last three-four days. But that will not happen now. We have played well since then, and we will try to strengthen both our attack and our defence, in order to tackle the Sethu challenge.”

Sethu has scored a goal more than Manipur, averaging seven goals per match.

What has made the Tamil Nadu side difficult to contain is it has more than one source of goals. The front three has fired on all cylinders: the Nepal forward Sabitra Bhandari has scored 13 goals in six matches, while the Indian wide forwards Dangmei Grace and Sandhiya have scored eight and seven goals apiece.

The defence has also looked relatively strong too, conceding only five goals in six games so far. Sweety Devi and Ashalata Devi have formed a strong defensive partnership and the opposition forwards have had to work incredibly hard to get past the Sethu backline.

On the eve of the final, Sethu's head coach Amrutha Aravind said, “Manipur are a good side. They have scored a lot of goals so far. But that does not mean that we will sit back. We also believe in an attacking game. We have worked on our transition from defence to attack. Let’s see how that works out tomorrow.”

With two attacking sides raring to have a go at each other, a cracking final is on the cards.

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