Gokulam Kerala defeated Eastern Sporting Union with ease, and Kickstart reached the final


Gokulam Kerala FC are the defending champion. They easily defeated Eastern Sporting Union 5-1 in the Hero Indian Women’s League semifinal on May 19, 2023, at the TransStadia.

The Malabarians got off to a great start and immediately applied pressure to the Eastern Sporting Union defence. Elangbam Panthoi Chanu, the custodian, had a difficult time stopping Gokulam Kerala’s persistent shots on goal.

However, Yumnam Kamala Devi’s improbable goal for the Imphal-based squad in the 18th minute—a contender for goal of the season—stunned Gokulam. The attacker took possession of an aerial delivery beyond the box and drove it horribly. Catching Beatrice Ntiwaa Nketia, the custodian for Gokulam Kerala, off guard as the ball fell directly into the goal.

As Eastern Sporting Union continued to advance in force, the goal gave them some confidence. The Malabarians, on the other hand, recovered more quickly and continued to play well in the opposing half. They saw the results of their labour in the 26th minute. Heirangkhongjam Linda Chanu took down Sabitra Bhandari inside the box, and the referee pointed to the area right away. With a goal that put the score at 1-1, Indumathi Kathiresan scored with little hesitation.

In an effort to take the lead in the game, the two sides appeared to be fighting tooth and nail. In the final analysis, Gokulam Kerala made the crucial advancement in the final seconds of the first half. Sabitra Bhandari, the typical suspect, snatched a long ball from Loitongbam Ashalata Devi and manoeuvred around Panthoi before putting it in the back of the net.

Gokulam Kerala makes a win

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The Malabarians upped their game and came out firing in the second half after taking the lead at halftime. Vivian Adjei, a forward on the bench, scored in the 55th minute to finish an outstanding team play and make it 3-1. From the half-line, Indumathi lobbed a risky through ball to Bhandari, who then squared it up for Adjei. The Ghanaian easily touched the ball into the goal to put Eastern Sporting Union farther out of the game.

Ultimately, Indumathi scored her second goal of the game in the 70th minute to make it 4-1 after another link-up play between Bhandari and her. Near the half-line, Bhandari regained control and passed via the right flank. After seeing Indumathi’s run, the Nepali forward produced an inch-perfect aerial cross into the box. The Indian midfielder’s header into the top right corner was brilliantly connected.

A second smooth finish past Panthoi by Bhandari in the fifth minute of added time brought the fantastic evening to a close. With the victory, Gokulam Kerala is currently just one step away from winning their third consecutive Hero IWL championship.

Indumathi Kathiresan, a representative of India, received the Player of the Match award for her outstanding midfield performance, which was complemented by two goals.

‘Two good’ start for Kickstart

Kickstart FC defeated Sethu FC 2-0 at the TransStadia on May 19, 2023, to advance to the Hero IWL final for the first time in their existence.

The game got off to a good start for Sethu as they nearly scored in the seventh minute. Apurna Narzary headed in Sumati Kumari’s inch-perfect cross from the left side. However, a Kickstart defender blocked her attempt, which resulted in a corner kick.

Three minutes later, Kickstart took an unprecedented lead, shocking the former Hero IWL winners. The Sethu defence was taken off guard when Kioko Elizabeth Katungwa pushed an incoming ball past custodian Anjila Subba’s legs to make it 1-0.

Sethu was forced to play on the defensive when the Bengaluru team continued to apply intense pressure. Kaviya Pakkirisamy nearly doubled her team’s advantage with a free kick in the 24th minute. Moreover, the forward’s hard-hitting left-footed effort almost missed the goal.

On the other side, Naorem Priyangka Devi for Sethu came perilously close to tying the score. The 20-year-old used excellent footwork to avoid being tackled by a Kickstart defender before attempting a long shot. The Kickstart defence cleared the ball off as it hit the bottom side of the woodwork just as custodian Maibam Linthoingambi Devi managed to save it. Just a few minutes later, Kajol Dsouza, the top scorer for the Madurai team, saw her powerful shot deflect off the crossbar.

Kickstart wins over Sethu

Deep into the first half’s extra time, Saru Limbu of Kickstart, though, produced a moment of pure perfection. Moreover, the Nepalese midfielder dribbled into the middle of the field, giving her plenty of time to glance at the goal and drive it from a distance. Her powerful shot, which flew straight through the top left corner and into the goal, was out of reach for her international teammate Anjila Subba.

In the second half, Sethu began to regain momentum and appeared eager to get back into the game. The vivacious Sumati Kumari advanced for a through ball in the 72nd minute. Moreover, blasted a grounded effort with her left foot that narrowly missed the goal.

Kickstart maintained a two-goal advantage and finished the eventful evening with a decisive victory. Due to Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi’s outstanding performance in the Kickstart defensive, she was named Player of the Match.

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