IWL: Gokulam Kerala, Mumbai Knights, Sports Odisha, Misaka United clinch wins

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Gokulam FC women's football team. File photo

Ahmedabad: Defending Champions Gokulam Kerala FC began their Indian Women's League (IWL) campaign with a thumping 8-2 victory over East Bengal FC in a Group A match at the TransStadia on Wednesday.

Five goals from Sabitra Bhandari, a goal each from Indumathi Kathiresan, Vivian Konadu Adjei and skipper Dangmei Grace helped the team from Kerala to register a convincing victory. This was East Bengal's first match in the IWL, country's top women's club competition.

Sabitra Bhandari 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 Bhandari 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 halftime. 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 who 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 match, also in Group A, 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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