Five teams will compete for the three remaining Group A quarterfinal spots

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The 2022-23 Hero Indian Women’s League’s penultimate day of play still has three spots in the knockout stage up for grabs. Gokulam Kerala are already the group’s presumptive champions, but five other teams—Sports Odisha, HOPS, East Bengal, Mumbai Knights, and Misaka United—are only three points apart and will compete for the final three spots.

Mumbai Knights must defeat Gokulam Kerala in order to advance

Mumbai Knights FC, making their Hero IWL debut, will have a mountain to climb when they face the formidable Gokulam Kerala FC on Friday, May 12, 2023, at 4:30 IST at the Shahibaug Police Stadium.

Head coach Anthony Andrews wants to keep the winning streak going even if the Malabarians have nothing to play for. “Our guys are in good shape, and our plan is working well. Tomorrow, we anticipate a full-court press from them, but we’ll do all in our power to hold them off and advance to the quarterfinals in style.

A victory for Mumbai Knights will ensure their berth in the quarterfinal. If both East Bengal and Misaka United lose, Rutuja Gunwant’s team will be able to win with a tie.

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Sports Odisha vs. Misaka United has everything on the line

At 4:30 IST, Sports Odisha and Misaka United will square off in a game that is literally life or death at the TransStadia. Misaka is currently in sixth place but is still very much in the race with nine points, trailing only Sports Odisha who are currently in second place with 12 points.

Only a victory will keep the Bengaluru-based team’s prospects of qualifying alive. But it won’t be enough; East Bengal and the Mumbai Knights must lose their respective games as well. Prior to the key game, head coach Antony Dias thought back on the atmosphere in the locker room. “Our preparation has been good. We are focused and know how we want to play to get the full three points. The players are motivated and eager to get on to the pitch,” he remarked.

Sports Odisha has a little advantage in the qualification scenario because even a loss will advance them if East Bengal and Mumbai Knights also lose. The team’s head coach, Paromita Sit, pushed her team to play their best game in the final group match because a victory would guarantee second place. “The girls are motivated after winning the last game against East Bengal. We need to stay focused and positive and go for the win,” she urged.

East Bengal and HOPS aim to continue IWL run

Earlier at 8 am, it’s third against fourth as HOPS FC takes on East Bengal FC at the TransStadia. East Bengal and HOPS want to extend IWL run. Any team that wins will be guaranteed a position in the quarterfinals.

This season’s most impressive debuting team, HOPS, comes into this match with a string of three straight victories with a clean sheet. Prior to the game, head coach Sanjay Singh opened up and discussed the team’s practises. “The confidence of the team has grown with each passing match. The team looks forward to playing a more attacking brand of football while continuing to defend well. The positivity of our mindset will be reflected in our game.”

After giving up a last-second goal against Sports Odisha on Tuesday, East Bengal, who is also participating in the Hero IWL for the first time, had their four-game winning streak come to an end. However, as things stand, they still have control over their destiny. Because three points will guarantee a spot in the quarterfinals.

Prior to the crucial game, head coach Sujata Kar seemed confident. “All my players have promised to give a good game and we will win the match.”

When lowest dwellers collide, Kahaani and Mata Rukmani come face to face

At 8 am, Kahaani and Mata Rukmani square off in their season-ending match at the Shahibaug Police Stadium. Both teams have had a difficult season thus far, going without any points. And tomorrow will be their final chance to finish the season on a positive note.

Kahaani head coach Lalita Saini stated before the game, “The girls are very excited for the final match of the season. We participated in the Hero IWL for the first time. It was a big achievement this year as we had many underprivileged girls getting a chance to play. We want to keep progressing with these girls.”

Santanu Ghosh, the head coach of Mata Rukmani, also discussed how his team was getting ready for the decisive contest. “The team is ready and prepared for the last game. We have seen good improvement in the girls this season. We are motivated to work even more and come back stronger.”

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