Gokulam Kerala defeats Mata Rukmani and advances to the quarter-finals

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Defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC preserved their perfect record in the Hero Indian Women’s League by defeating Mata Rukmani FC 9-0 on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at the TransStadia in Ahmedabad.

Nepal international forward Sabitra Bhandari scored four goals and was named Player of the Match, while Indumathi Kathiresan scored twice and Sorokhaibam scored once. In today’s Group A encounter, Ranjana Chanu, Dangmei Grace, and Hemam Shilky Devi made the Malabarians’ work appear easy.

Gokulam gained an early lead in the fourth minute of the encounter when Mata Rukmani goalkeeper Jyotsna Bara fumbled Ranjana Chanu’s attempted cross from the left flank across the goalline. They increased their advantage minutes later when Sabitra Bhandari, the tournament’s top scorer, retrieved a pass along the right wing and surged into the penalty box on a single run before shooting beyond Bara.

As the reigning champs pushed for additional goals, the floodgates opened. Asem Roja Devi sent a superbly weighted ball to Sabitra, who took a few touches before slotting past Bara once more.

Gokulam Kerala kept taking chances

Dangmei Grace scored in the 20th minute after Ashalata Devi’s pass from the right wing. Jyotsna Bara bungled the initial save attempt, and Dangmei pounced on the rebound to tip the ball into the net.

Throughout the match, Mata Rukmani battled to keep Sabitra at bay due to her quickness. This time, she was the provider for Gokulam’s fifth goal. Laying off a well-timed pass to Hemam Shilky Devi, who had all the time in the world to tap the ball into an empty net. In the 35th minute, Indumathi Kathiresan made it 6-0 to the Malabarians. The Indian international linked beautifully with Sabitra on the edge of Mata Rukmani’s penalty area before putting it from close range into the top corner.

Minutes before halftime, Indumathi scored her second and Gokulam’s seventh goal of the game. Sabitra had to wait until the 68th minute to clinch her third hat-trick of the competition, thanks to a wonderful link-up play with Kashmina and Soniya Jose on the penalty box’s edge.

On the ball, Dangmei and Sabitra were creating havoc on Mata Rukmani’s defenders. In the 69th minute, they combined once more for Gokulam’s ninth and final goal. Dangmei’s well-timed ball split the Mata Rukmani defenders wide open, and Sabitra slotted it home beyond Bara at the near post with ease.

Mata Rukmani are currently in seventh position in the rankings and are the only side in the league with 0 goals. With the win, Gokulam Kerala advanced to the quarter-finals and maintained their lead at the top of the table with 16 points from six games.

Odisha sports win late winner

Sports Odisha defeated East Bengal FC 2-1 in a Group A match in the Hero Indian Women’s League on Tuesday morning at the Shahibaug Police Stadium in Ahmedabad, due to a last-minute goal by Ritu Devi.

With this victory, Sports Odisha surpassed East Bengal to take second place in the group, with 12 points from six games. Nepal striker Rekha Poudel put Sports Odisha ahead in the 60th minute, but the Red and Gold Brigade quickly answered with a goal from Mousumi Murmu in the 63rd. However, Ritu Devi’s 94th-minute strike gave Sports Odisha all three points.

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East Bengal is currently in fourth place with 10 points after six games. And their fate in the Hero IWL is still up in the air. Despite being on the losing side, East Bengal’s Mousumi Murmu was named Player of the Match for her individual efforts.

Misaka United maintains its quarter-final aspirations

MUFC defeated Kahaani FC 6-0 in their Group A match at the TransStadia on Tuesday morning.

Misaka United won their second game of the season. Thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Kenyan attacker Lucy Kwekwe Jira, who was also awarded Player of the Match. And second-half goals from Lalrinmuani, Lavanya Upadhyay, and Mythili Parvati Vidya. With this victory, the Bengaluru team has maintained their prospects of reaching the competition’s knockout rounds alive.

They have nine points from six games and are presently sixth in the table. Kahaani have failed to score a point and are at the bottom of the standings.

HOPS won their third game in a row

HOPS FC defeated Mumbai Knights FC 2-0 in the last Group A match of the day at the Shahibaug Police Stadium. With the victory, HOPS moved up to third place in Group A with 12 points from six games.

Neha, 16, who was also named Player of the Match, put the Delhi team ahead in the 23rd minute. For the most part, it was a hard-fought and tight game. Until Rajni Bala came off the bench to secure the victory for HOPS in second-half injury time.

With this loss, Mumbai Knights dropped to fifth position in the group, remaining on 10 points. With each side just having one game to play, it will be intriguing to watch who advances from Group A to the knockout phases of this competition.

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