Manipur-based Kangchup Road Young Physical and Sports Association FC reached their first Indian Women’s League final after a hard-fought 3-1 win over Kenkre FC of Mumbai in Bengaluru on Monday.
Ratanbala Devi (18th, 38th minutes) scored a brace to fire KRYPHSA into a 2-0 lead before Jyoti (43rd) pulled one back in stunning fashion for Kenkre.
Roja Devi (63rd) then scored the winner for KRYPHSA in the second half of the first semifinal.
Coming into the semifinal on the back of a perfect run in the group stage by winning all five of their matches while scoring 15 goals and conceding none, KRYPHSA were clear favourites.
The team from Manipur broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Ratanbala made the most of a half chance, shooting home from the edge of the box as Kenkre centre-halves didn’t close her down.
Ratanbala added her second in the 38th minute after being played down the left. She kept her nerves and with deft finesse, outsmarted keeper Monika Devi again hand her side a 2-0 lead.
Much against the run of play, Kenkre pulled one back going into the break in the 43rd minute.
It took a great strike from Jyoti from near the half-way line to catch KRYPHSA keeper Linthoingambi Devi off-guard.
The complexion of the game had changed after that goal, with KRYPHSA approaching the game with more caution.
The nerves were settled in the 63rd minute by Roja Devi, who chested down an out-swinging corner on the edge of the box and with a couple of Kenkre shirts closing her down, volleyed it to perfection to restore the two-goal cushion.
KRYPHSA will face the winner of the second semifinal between high-flying Gokulam Kerala FC and defending champions Sethu FC.
Bhandari’s brace helps Gokulam reach final
Gokulam Kerala FC reached the Indian Women’s League final with a stunning 3-0 win in the second semi-final, dethroning defending champions Sethu FC at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Monday.
Manisha Kalyan broke the deadlock with a brilliant free-kick before Sabitra Bhandari added the second a minute before half-time. The Nepal international rubberstamped Gokulam’s place in the final by adding a third goal late in the second half.
The match was well-poised for an even encounter, with the Malabarians being the IWL high-flyers and champions Sethu embracing the prospect of defending their crown.
Manisha Kalyan’s wonderful free-kick from about 35 yards from goal went in off the underside of the crossbar to break the deadlock in the 21st minute, thus adding another wonder-strike to the growing inventory of IWL stunners for the season.
Talismanic forward Sabitra Bhandari continued her hot streak in front of goal, adding the second in the 44th minute after a wonderful through-ball from Kamala Devi had put her through on goal.
Sethu roared back in the second half and were left to rue a golden opportunity in the 53rd minute. A rare mistake from keeper Aditi Chauhan saw her throw the ball straight at the feet of Amsavalli, who wasted no time in playing Sandhiya through on goal. The ever-reliable forward, who has 13 goals to her name this season, blasted her shot over the bar to everyone’s disbelief.
The Madurai outfit didn’t give up the chase as the ball fell to Sandhiya again inside the six-yard area, with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. However, her effort was collected comfortably by Aditi Chauhan.
Sabitra Bhandari added the third, pouncing onto yet another delightful pass from Kamala Devi. She got away with sheer pace and lethal as ever, made no mistake.
Gokulam Kerala are now set to play their first IWL final, where they will be taking on Manipur’s KRYPHSA FC.
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