Holders Gokulam Kerala FC registered their second consecutive victory in the IWL 2023-24 when they edged former champions Sethu FC 1-0 in the away tie at Tilak Maidan, Goa, on Sunday. For Sethu FC, it was the third defeat on the trot.
With this win, Kerala have now moved to the second spot in the points table with 14 points from seven matches. Strong contenders Kickstart FC also have 14 points, though they have played one fewer match than Gokulam. Sethu FC continue to struggle with seven points from as many outings.
Gokulam Kerala and Sethu FC met in the first leg, which ended in a goalless draw at EMS Corporation Stadium. On Sunday, Gokulam began on a whirlwind note by scoring in the very second minute.
However, it proved to be the only goal of the match as the Malabarians, despite complete dominance over their rivals, couldn’t increase their tally. Sethu FC, on the other hand, played the second fiddle throughout and hardly there was a moment when they made any serious move to threaten the opponents.
Sethu FC goalkeeper Anjila Subba effected a few fine saves to keep the Gokulam FC forwards at bay.
Sandhiya Ranganathan’s goal was a stunning strike. She received the ball well outside the Sethu box and on the turn, she took a powerful right footer that crashed against the net, leaving no chance for goalkeeper Anjila to react.
Thereafter, Gokulam pressed relentlessly, but another goal remained elusive. In the 22nd minute, Ugandan striker Fazila Ikwaput, who played a key role in attacks, tried from a distance to catch Anjila off her line, but the Sethu FC keeper recovered in time to push it away. In the 28th minute, Shilky Devi took a shot outside the box, but Anjila was perfectly positioned to claim the ball.
Gokulam Kerala will return to action on February 3 when they face HOPS FC. Sethu FC play East Bengal FC on February 11.