That’s it from us tonight!
Gokulam Kerala FC have completed the three-peat in some style. A dominant 5-0 win over Kickstart FC in the final to underline their status as the best women’s team in the country by a mile.
IWL season awards
Best emerging player: Astam Oraon (KSFC)
Golden Glove: Linthoi Devi (KSFC)
Golden Boot: Sabitra Bhandari (GKFC)
Golden Ball: Indumathi Kathiresan (GKFC)
FT: Gokulam Kerala are the Indian Women’s League champions! What an absolutely dominant performance from the Malabarians to complete a hat-trick of IWL titles. Kickstart FC barely got a sniff in the match as GKFC blew them away. Sabitra Bhandari, the Golden Boot winner and quite possibly the Player of the Season, led GKFC from the front with her 29th goal of the season and two further assists. KSFC captain Dalima Chhibber would be eager to forget tonight.
89’ KSFC 0-5 GKFC: Sabitra Bhandari, scorer of 29 goals and the all-time top-scorer in the league’s history, still has the energy and hunger to add another goal to her tally. What an athlete! Five minutes added on.
81’ KSFC 0-5 GKFC: Roja Devi gets in on the action! Sabitra Bhandari once again involved as she cuts the ball back behind the KSFC defence and Roja Devi flies in to tap the ball in. Brilliant from Gokulam.
80’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: 10 minutes until Gokulam Kerala are crowned champions of Indian football and the party has already begun in the stands. Drums and hooters going off now. Here’s hoping next season, with home and away format introduced, fans turn up in more numbers.
72’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: Saru Limbu tries her luck from distance but Beatrice is able to make a comfortable diving save.
70’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: Gokulam are not taking their foot of the gas despite being four goals to the good. KSFC are trying to get things done but the Gokulam defence has largely been untroubled.
65’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: Ranjana Chanu with some really good footwork and use of upper body strength to force her way into the box from the left. She squares it to Sabitra whose first time shot is deflected behind for a corner.
58’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: Uffff! Sabitra leaves Dalima in the dust as she storms into the box from the left. She unleashes a fierce shot aiming for the top corner but Maibam Linthoingambi Devi makes the save.
52’ KSFC 0-4 GKFC: Sandhiya nets again! GKFC have turned on the style now. Sabitra does really well on the left to get past her defender and float an inviting cross. Sandhiya is completely unmarked in the middle and gets the easiest of headers.
47’ KSFC 0-3 GKFC: Bright start from Kickstart in the second half. First Sara Limbu manages to force her way into the box but with three defenders in Maroon ganging up on her, she scuffs her shot straight at Beatrice. Moments later, Lepcha cannot control a cross from the right and it runs away. Then, Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi hammers in a long-range effort and Beatrice has to come up with a really good save to tip the ball over the bar.
46’ KSFC 0-3 GKFC: We’re back for the second half of the IWL final. Gokulam Kerala have been absolutely dominant so far and it will take one hell of a comeback for Kickstart FC to win the title. Sushmita Lepcha comes on for Babita Devi for KSFC.
HT, KSFC 0-3 GKFC: Gokulam Kerala FC are well on their way to a third successive Indian Women’s League title. Absolutely blown Kickstart out of the water. Langam Chaoba Devi needs to give a half-time team talk for the ages to get her side back in this final.
44’ KSFC 0-3 GKFC: Sabitra nearly makes it 4! Forces her way through the KSFC defence with ease and goes for the far-post but the ball rolls agonisingly past the upright. At the other end, Elizabeth goes down clutching her back after a strong challenge from Ashalata Devi. Three minutes added on.
36’ KSFC 0-3 GKFC: Penalty for GKFC and Indumathi makes no mistake from the spot! KSFC have a mountain to climb now.
30’ KSFC 0-2 GKFC: A first attempt on goal for KSFC. Kaviya lets one fly from outside the box. Beatrice Nketia scampers to her left but the ball rolls just past the upright.
26’ KSFC 0-2 GKFC: Nearly a third for GKFC! Delightful cross from deep by Shilky Devi and Sabitra Bhandari rises highest but cannot direct her header at goal. KSFC escape and we’ll have the cooling break.
22’ KSFC 0-2 GKFC: Sandhiya doubles GKFC’s lead! She outmuscles Papki Devi to the ball to get inside the box. Fakes cutting in to send Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi the wrong way before arrowing her shot past Maibam Linthoingambi Devi. The KSFC keeper was furious with her defence but she should have saved that shot anyway.
15’ KSFC 0-1 GKFC: Elizabeth finds herself with some decent space on the left and drifts inside. Step over after step over but Kritina Devi times her tackle to perfection to win the ball.
15’ KSFC 0-1 GKFC: Elizabeth, with her back to goal, plays a delightful through ball onto Babina Devi. The KSFC midfielder just about gets to the ball but puts her cross behind.
10’, KSFC 0-1 GKFC: It is one-way traffic right now. That goal has shocked KSFC a bit and GKFC are imposing themselves. A bit of concern for the two-time champions as Ranjana Chanu goes down from a heavy challenge. She limps but eventually runs it off.
5’, KSFC 0-1 GKFC: WHAT A GOAL FROM SABITRA! The Nepalese striker gets on the end of a through ball down the right and she lets one fly from the edge of the box. Maibam Linthoingambi Devi can only watch as the ball flies past her into the top corner. Sabitra has now become the all-time top goalscorer in IWL history.
KSFC vs GKFC: Gokulam Kerala, clad in their traditional maroon kits, get us underway at the TransStadia in Ahmedabad.
Hello and welcome to Scroll’s coverage of Indian football as Kickstart FC Karnataka take on Gokulam Kerala FC in the final of the Indian Women’s League 2023.
After 62 matches over 26 days, it all comes down to this. Kickstart FC Karnataka try and prevent Gokulam Kerala FC from completing a hat-trick of IWL titles. The Karnataka side start as underdogs against the giants of Indian women’s football.
It will be a clash between the best attack in the league and the best defence. Gokulam, led by Nepal’s Sabitra Bhandari, have scored a whopping 58 goals. Bhandari is the top scorer and has nearly scored as many goals by herself, 28, as Kickstart have scored as a team, 32.
However, the Dalima Chhibber-led side have been clinical too, losing just once in the season and beating the likes of Odisha FC and former champions Sethu Madurai FC on their way to the final.
Stay tuned for updates.
Screenshots in the blog courtesy AIFF / YouTube