Gokulam Kerala registered a resounding 7-0 victory over Odisha Police in the Indian Women’s League football match in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Sabitra Bhandari’s five-goal effort made all the headlines, with Agbo Esperence and Grace Lalhauhnar also scoring two late goals. The two halves were quite contrasting in nature. While the first was quite closely contested, the second witnessed one-way traffic.
Bhandari opened the scoring in the seventh minute, with a volley from the edge of the box which left the keeper with no chance.
Odisha Police were still in the game going into half-time but the second half erupted like a volcano. Bhandari made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute after chasing down a loose clearance and heading it past the onrushing Odisha Police keeper Tikina Samal.
The Nepal international completed her hat-trick just a minute later through a brilliant solo effort, going past three defenders and slotting it home.
With the match ball in her bag, Bhandari wasn’t done yet. She added her fourth in the 74th minute by converting a seemingly speculative cross and a fifth one by rounding off the keeper. There was a shout for offside, but the flag stayed down.
Bhandari was replaced by Agbo Esperence in the 86th minute, to a round of applause.
The substitute, who hails from Ivory Coast, made it 6-0 in the 90th minute, rounding off a wonderful solo effort. The seventh goal came from Grace Hauhnar in stoppage time as the match drew to a close.
The win consolidates Gokulam’s position as Group B leaders with nine points in three games, while Odisha Police remained at fifth with three points.
In another match, local side Bangalore United FC played out an entertaining 0-0 draw with West Bengal’s Sreebhumi FC at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Saturday. The result also registers the first goalless match of the fourth edition of IWL.
Chances were aplenty, with both sides squandering a catalogue of opportunities. Tanvie Hans and Satyabati Hadia linked up well for BUFC, while Sreebhumi’s Ritu Devi posed a constant threat over the course of the game. Goalkeepers, Vinaya Seshan of BUFC and Rumpa Malik of Sreebhumi had fantastic games as they both kept clean sheets and helped their team earn a point apiece.
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