Defending champion Gokulam Kerala FC began its Indian Women’s League (IWL) campaign with a thumping 8-2 victory over East Bengal FC in a Group A match here, on Wednesday.
Five goals from Sabitra Bhandari, a goal each from Indumathi Kathiresan, Vivian Konadu Adjei and skipper Dangmei Grace completed the rout for the Kerala outfit.
This was East Bengal’s first match in the IWL, the country’s top women’s club competition.
Sabitra opened the scoring when she beat East Bengal custodian Jambalu Tayang and put the ball into an empty net in the early stages of the match.
She added her second goal of the match after receiving a defence-splitting pass from the midfield and rounded off Jambalu again to score an easy goal.
Indumathi made it 3-0 with a volley that beat Jambalu hands down at the top corner. Rimpa Halder reduced the margin for the Red and Golds with a volley from inside the penalty box, which brought them back into the game for a while.
Sabitra completed her hat-trick when a defensive mishap made it easier for the Gokulam forward to find the target.
Tulsi Hembram pulled one back for East Bengal when the match resumed after half-time. Tulsi got past the Gokulam defence on sheer physical strength and placed it nicely into the back of the net.
After this, it was all Gokulam, which dominated the match. Sabitra scored her fourth goal of the match when she curled in a brilliant right footer into the top corner from outside the penalty box, giving Jambalu practically no chance to save.
Narrow win for Mumbai Knights
In another Group A fixture, Mumbai Knights defeated Kahaani Football Club by a solitary goal.
Once striker Priyanka struck the all-important goal in the 24th minute, the losers played hard to find the equaliser, but it remained elusive.
Sports Odisha win a close tie
At the Shahibaug Police Station, Sports Odisha edged HOPS FC, Delhi 3-2 in a well-contested encounter.
After a goalless first half, the match came to life when Odisha struck twice in a span of eight minutes through Rekha Poudel (51st) and substitute Manisha Naik (58th).
HOPS, however, came back strongly to level scores with goals from Shailja (71st) and Rajni Bala (81st). Finally, Odisha had the last laugh as substitute Anju struck well into the ad-on time to clinch the win.
Easy for Misaka United
At the TransStadia, Bangalore’s Misaka United FC scored once in each half to get the better of Mata Rukmani Football Club, Chhattisgarh 2-0. Both goals were scored by Lalrinmuani.
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