Gokulam Kerala FC routed East Bengal FC 4-0 to bag three important points in the IWL 2023-24 at the East Bengal Ground on Tuesday. For the hosts, it was their fourth consecutive defeat.
A hat-trick by Ugandan striker Fazila Ikwaput was the highlight of the match. The first goal of the match for the Malabarians was netted by Sandhiya Ranganathan. The winners led 3-0 at half time.
Having played six matches, defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC now have 11 points from three wins, two draws and one defeat. While they are now placed third in the table behind Odisha FC and Kickstart FC, the Kolkata side are in the penultimate spot in the seven-team league with three points from six outings.
Gokulam Kerala stormed the East Bengal goal right from the word go and slammed in three goals within a span of 14 minutes that virtually killed the competitive nature of the match. With such a setback, East Bengal were left gasping for breath and hardly had a chance to make any kind of comeback.
Sandhiya Ranganathan put her team ahead in the seventh minute when she astutely lobbed the ball over goalkeeper K Melody Chanu from the left side of the opposition box to put her team ahead.
In a matter of minutes, Fazila’s finesse shone through. A well-timed pass into the box set her up on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, whom she beat easily to double Gokulam’s lead. She then struck her second goal seamlessly by delicately chipping the ball over the keeper.
Fazila completed her hat-trick three minutes after the break. She collected a defence-splitting through ball and slotted it into the back of the net.
East Bengal were definitely lucky not to concede more goals. A goalline clearance by a defender, a brilliant save by the goalkeeper and a couple of close calls spared them further embarrassment. The Red and Gold Brigade, on the other hand, couldn’t do much to keep the Gokulam custodian busy.
Gokulam Kerala FC will return to action on January 28 for their next match against Sethu FC. East Bengal FC will face Sports Odisha in Kolkata on January 29.