Category: Womens

IWL 2019 Final: Sabitra Bhandari scores brace as Sethu FC crowned champions

LUDHIANA: Sethu FC turned around a first-half deficit to beat Manipur Police SC 3-1 and win their first ever Hero Indian Women’s League trophy in the process, at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here on Wednesday (May 22, 2019).

Radharani Devi had put Manipur Police in the lead towards the end of the first half, but an own goal by Umapati Devi put Sethu back in the game, before their Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari turned up the heat to score two goals and win it for the Madurai-based side.

Sethu got off with the more chances in the first half, as they kept the Manipur attackers in check and built on their swift counter-attacks to move the ball up the pitch quickly. Their left winger Sandhiya looked lively in the opening exchanges, as she bombed down the left flank to give a lot of trouble to the Manipur defence.

The India international had the first clear chance a little after 10 minutes, when she received the ball just inside the box and pulled the trigger. However, she scuffed her instep shot and it lacked any sting.

The winger had another good chance when she received the ball from a melee inside the Manipur box, but her shot rolled inches wide of the post.

Manipur’s Bala Devi was tightly marked, and she often had to drop to the midfield or to the right wing, in order to make some space for herself. Bala increasingly began to cut a rather frustrated figure, and was starting to resort to long-range efforts.

Manipur’s goal came at just the right time, with a little over a minute of regulation time left for the first half, as Radharani leaped above the rest to nod in a corner from the left.

Sethu came out with more vigour in the second half, and got the goal that they were looking for, when Dangmei Grace broke down the right and sent in a low cross as captain Indumathi Kathiresan pulled the trigger. However, it took a deflection off Manipur Police defender Umapati Devi, who was unfortunately awarded the own goal.

It took the Madurai-based side around another five minutes to take the lead for the first time this game, as their mercurial Nepalese striker Sabitra Bhandari was set through on goal. the Sethu number nine rounded off the keeper, before slotting it into the net from an angle.

Sabitra, who was relatively quiet for most of the first half, came into her own after this goal that gave her the confidence. She scored her second of the evening, when Sandhiya broke swiftly down the left and played her in through the channel between the left back and the left centre-back. The Nepal international opened up her right foot and slotted it into the bottom corner to give Sethu the two-goal cushion.

From then on, it was a matter of seeing out the Manipur attacks, a responsibility that the likes of Sethu defenders Ashalata Devi and Sweety Devi, and midfielders Sumithra, Ratanbala and Indumathi carried out perfectly.

Hero IWL 2018-19 Individual Awards:

Highest Scorer: Bala Devi, Manipur Police

Best Goalkeeper: Linthoi, Gokulam Kerala FC

Emerging Player of the Tournament: Ratanbala Devi, Sethu FC

Most Valuable Player of the Tournament: Sandhiya, Sethu FC

IWL 2019 Final: Sethu FC take on Manipur Police SC in the clash of titans

LUDHIANA: The summit clash of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League is upon us, and it’s a re-match of a Group II game – Manipur Police SC vs Sethu FC. The two clubs have undoubtedly been arguably the best sides in the tournament so far, and have made it so far on the back of some magnificent wins.

While Sethu have upheld a perfect record in the tournament so far, Manipur Police have suffered but one glitch, a 4-6 loss against Sethu during the group stage. However, that match will be long forgotten, as the two sides will look to renew their rivalries for the Hero IWL Final.

MANIPUR POLICE SC

41 goals from six matches. Let that figure sink in.

Manipur Police have been on hot form, having earned two massive 10-0 victories against SAI-STC Cuttack and Bangalore United. The side from the North-east has the mercurial Bala Devi in its attack. The 29-year-old has scored a whopping 26 goals from six matches, firmly perching her at the top of the scorers’ charts.

Supporting Bala up front is Daya Devi, who has proved to be a versatile player for Head Coach Surmala Devi. The India U-19 international has operated both on the wings and alongside striker Bala, to give Manipur a diversity in the way they approach different matches.

However, Manipur Police have been prone to conceding goals, something that their attack has made up for well. They have let in 10 goals from six matches in the tournament so far.

“In our last match against Sethu, we did not have much of an opportunity to practice together. We had all come together in the last three-four days,” said Chanu. “But that will not happen now. We have played well since then, and we will try to strengthen both our attack and our defence, in order to tackle the Sethu challenge.”

What would be more troubling for Coach Surmala Chanu is the fact that their first choice centreback Romi Devi is suspended from the final, after she was sent off in the semifinal against Gokulam for a hand ball on the goalline.

SETHU FC

If Manipur have scored 41 goals, Sethu have gone one better in their six matches so far.

What has made the Tamil Nadu side so strong is the fact that they do not really have any one constant source of goals. Their front three have fired on all cylinders – while their Nepal international striker Sabitra Bhandari has pumped in 13 goals from six games, India international wingers Dangmei Grace and Sandhiya have scored eight and seven goals apiece.

Their defence has also looked relatively strong, having conceded only five in six games so far. The likes of Sweety Devi and Ashalata Devi have kept a strong central backline for Sethu, giving the midfielders a base upon which they could launch their attacks.

However, four of these five goals were conceded against Manipur Police in their Group Stage game. However, Sethu FC Head Coach Amrutha Aravind is not too worried about the previous encounter.

“Manipur are a good side. They have scored a lot of goals so far. But that does not mean that we will sit back. We also believe in an attacking game,” said Amrutha. “We have worked on our transition from defence to attack. Let’s see how that works out tomorrow.”

One player who has been crucial for Sethu has been India international midfielder Ratanbala Devi. The 24-year-old has been the engine in the middle of the park for the Maduria-based side, helping them convert a defensive manoeuvre into attack in the blink of an eye. Her box-to-box play has helped Ratanbala score eight goals from midfield.

With two attacking sides raring to have a go at each other, we are sure to have an absolute cracker of a Final on the cards. As to who will take away the coveted trophy at the end of the day, we will have to wait and watch.

IWL 2019: Sethu FC thrash SSB to setup Manipur Police final

LUDHIANA: Sethu FC produced a brilliant performance against a hapless SSB Women FC, as the Tamil Nadu based side engineered a 8-1 victory at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here, on Monday. This win sends Sethu into the Hero Indian Women’s League Final, where they will face Manipur Police.

Sabitra Bhandari netted four goals to take her tournament tally up to 13 from six appearances, but it was Dangmei Grace, who stole the show with her display from the right wing, as she scored a hat-trick and made a couple of assists to take the Player of the Match Award.

SSB started off the game with a higher tempo, laying a proverbial siege on the Sethu penalty area. They created plenty of chances in the opening exchanges, but failed to capitalise on them, something that cost them dearly later on.

It did not take Sethu much time to capitalise on the early missed chances by SSB, as Dangmei Grace put them in the lead within the first quarter of an hour. The India international was on form in the second semifinal of the day, as she created the chance that led to the second goal, as she put in a low cross from the right that was finished off by Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari.

Grace soon added a third on the stroke of half time, to make it a convincing lead for Sethu as they headed into the tunnel.

It was much of a cat-and-mouse game in the second half, as SSB pressed forward, looking to reduce the deficit, but Sethu kept hitting them with swift counter-attacks.

Grace scored one a few minutes after the restart, while Sabitra Bhandari scored two more as both the India and the Nepal internationals completed their hat-tricks, before Dular Marandi pulled one back for SSB. However, Ratanbala soared up the pitch from the restart and immediately restored Sethu’s six-goal cushion just a minute later.

This massive win means that Sethu will join Manipur Police in the final on Wednesday, May 22 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, in a day’s time.

IWL 2019: Manipur Police beat Gokulam Kerala to reach final

LUDHIANA: Manipur Police made their way to the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League Final after a thrilling performance that saw them beat Gokulam Kerala FC 4-2 despite being one player down for almost the entirety of the second half at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here on Monday.

Bala Devi was the star of the show yet again, as she netted all four of the Manipur goals to help them come back from being 1-2 down after the North-eastern side’s defender Romi Devi was sent off on the 47th minute.

Manipur Police went on the offensive early on and started creating a lot of chances. Unlike their previous game, they started with a 4-4-2 formation with Bala Devi and Daya Devi operating up front. Bala dropped deep to add more numbers to the Manipur midfield and feed the balls to Daya.

It was one of these moves that got Manipur their goal on the quarter-hour mark. Daya was played into the box via an aerial through ball, but was fouled by Gokulam centreback Poli Koley. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Bala Devi converted the penalty to put the side from the North-east in front.

Gokulam were having some trouble to get their attacks going, as Manipur made a concerted effort to crowd out Manisha, who was playing in the attacking midfield role. Soon, they made a couple of tactical changes that turned things in their favour.

Poli Koley was brought off, as the Kerala side pushed Lako Bhutia to the centreback position, while Naocha Devi came on to take up the holding midfield spot alongside captain Dalima Chhibber. Soon after, Gokulam gaffer pushed Manisha up front, while Anju Tamang played in the hole behind her.

This new approach started working for Gokulam, as they started to play their counter-attacks off Manisha. They finally got their equaliser through a corner, as Bina Devi turned it into her own net from a melee.

Gokulam came out with the early initiative in the second half, and Anju Tamang penetrated the Manipur box and fired a shot that was blocked off the line. However, it had struck Romi Devi’s hand and she was subsequently sent off. Ranjana Chanu converted the ensuing penalty to put Gokulam in front for the first time.

Manipur, however, did not lie low, despite being one player down. They pressed forward, and earned another foul inside the opposition box, which gave them a penalty to equalise from. Bala Devi duly converted it to put her side level.

The Daya-Bala combination finally worked out, as the former soared in from the left and sent in a low cross for Bala to convert from close range with a little over 10 minutes of regulation time left on the clock. A minute later, it was a bit of individual brilliance that did the magic for Manipur, as Bala turned fullback Linthoi inside-out, and fired a left-footer into the bottom corner.

With this performance, Bala now moves on to 26 goals six matches in the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League, as Manipur Police progress to the final.

IWL 2019: Rising Student Club end campaign with win over FC Alakhpura

LUDHIANA: Rising Student Club managed to post their first win of the campaign, as they beat FC Alakhpura 2-1 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, on Friday.

Sibani Sharma and Ashrita Kangadi scored the two goals for RSC, while Raveena had pulled one back in between for Alakhpura.

RSC had the early start, as they dominated possession in the opening exchanges and passed it around near their attacking third. It took them just eight minutes to break the deadlock. 

Sibani Sharma lined up a free-kick from about 30 yards out. She thundered the ball towards Alakhpura goalkeeper Neelam, who managed to get a palm to it, but there was just too much power in that shot as the ball tumbled over the line.

That gave RSC more initiative to go forward in attack, as they pressed forward in attack. This gave Alakhpura the perfect opportunity to hit the Odisha side on the counter, as Raveena finished off a goalmouth melee to score the equaliser.

However, it did not take long for RSC to regain their lead, as Ashrita Kangadi finished off another attack just seconds after the Alakhpura goal.

The side from Haryana came out with more conviction in the second half, as substitute Pooja Devi took control in the middle of the park. With this result, RSC have posted their first win of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League campaign. However, both the sides were already out of contention for the semifinals.

IWL 2019: SSB secure semi-final spot with win over Hans Women FC

LUDHIANA: SSB Women FC notched up a comfortable win over Hans Women FC by a 2-0 margin at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Friday, to secure themselves a spot in the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League semifinals.

Anibala Devi, who put SSB in the lead in the first half, was the star of the show, before Sandhya Kachhap added a second minutes before the final whistle.

It was a tight contest in the middle of the park, but SSB edged the midfield battles and created more chances.

The side from Bengal even managed to rattle the crossbar courtesy a shot from midfielder Sangita Basfore.

SSB managed to take get the lead on the half-hour mark, when they launched a swift counter-attack that saw a cross from the left being beautifully converted to a goal by an air-borne Anibala Devi, who tapped her volley past the keeper.

That goal gave more confidence to SSB, and they started to gain more control as midfielders Basfore and Anibala started to grow into the game.

The Siliguri-based side came out with more vigour after the change of ends, as Basfore and Anibala dominated the ball from the middle of the park.

They launched a flurry of attacks that put the Hans defence under a lot of pressure. Sumila Chanu soared up the SSB left wing and centred it a few minutes after the restart. Dular Marandi, who was inside the area, scuffed her header, but got a second chance, which she put wide with a left-footer.

The midfield duo of Sangita Basfore and Anibala Devi combined again as the former laid it off for latter whose shot was saved by Hans keeper Ketaki Mangala Devi.

As the game progressed, SSB, who needed just a draw to book their spot in the semifinals, were content on keeping possession of the ball, not allowing the opposition to create opportunities.

With about five minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Hans employed an interesting set-piece tactic, as they sent their goalkeeper Tyagi forward to attack the ball. However, it was cleared after a melee inside the SSB box and she had to return to her post eventually.

Right at the end of regulation time, Hans gave away a cheap free-kick near their box as they picked up the ball, thinking it to be a throw-in. However, the whole of the ball had not crossed the whole of the line, and the referee awarded a free-kick to SSB.

The ensuing free-kick dropped inside the Hans six-yard area, before it was side-footed into the net by Sandhya Kachhap, to secure the win for the Bengal side.

IWL 2019: Bangalore United log first win of the campaign

LUDHIANA: Bangalore United FC got their first win of the 2018-19 campaign as they beat Baroda Football Academy by a comfortable 2-0 margin.

Sivakumari Arumugam and Paromita Sit scored the two goals as Bengaluru waltzed to the win. Their winger Amsa got the player of the match award.

Bangalore were the dominant of the two sides as they looked to keep the ball for long spells and pass it around.

Captain Amoolya Kamal was perhaps their most influential player from the middle of the park, combining well with Khushbu Kumari to form a formidable midfield partnership.

Amsa gave the two midfielders good support from the middle of the park as Amoolya and Khushbu looked to feed her the balls on the right flank.

Bangalore finally got their breakthrough with a little less than 10 minutes left for the half-time whistle, when Sivasankari Arumugam gave them the lead.

The forward cut in from the left, dribbled past a couple of defenders and rifled a shot into the net from just outside the penalty area.

After the changeover, Baroda attempted to orchestrate their attacks through left winger Mona. However, Bangalore pushed their defence stalwart Komal Kumari into the holding midfield position to neutralise the threat.

Bangalore threw forward Paromita Sit into the mix in the second half, and she had an influence on the play, linking up with Amsa.

With a little under 10 minutes of regulation time left, Sit once again linked up with Amsa, who cut inside and layed it off for captain Amoolya. The Bangalore captain’s first-time shot rattled the crossbar.

The combination finally worked out with about five minutes of regulation time left. Amsa was fed the ball on the right wing, as she dashed into the box and sent in a low cross that Sit merely had to tap into the goal from inside the six-yard-box.

With this win Bangalore now move on to four points from as many games in Group II.

IWL 2019: FC Kolhapur City beat SAI-STC Cuttack to round off campaign

LUDHIANA: FC Kolhapur City finished off their 2018-19 campaign with a 2-0 victory over SAI-STC Cuttack at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, on Thursday.

It was a mixture of both experience and youth, as Kamala Devi and Renu scored the two goals for Kolhapur. SAI defender Jyoti Kumari was awarded the Player of the Match for her exploits in the defence.

Kolhapur were the dominant of the two sides from the very start, as they enjoyed long bouts of possession in the middle of the park. The Maharashtra side got the lead early on, when their captain Kamala Devi dribbled past two defenders and fired it in from outside the box on the seventh minute.

They went on to double their lead in a little over 10 minutes before the half-time whistle, when Renu put one in from long range. The India U-19 international received the ball on the right, dribbled past a defender and sent in a cross that sailed over SAI keeper Subha Patra into the goal.

The proceedings continued to be dominated by Kolhapur in the second half, as they looked up to their strong backbone — Jabamani Tudu in defence, Kunti Kumari Lakra holding the middle, and Nigerian Crystal Eke leading the line.

Captain Kamala Devi was creating the chances from within the hole, while Renu made dangerous runs on the right.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Renu had a chance to score a brace when she controlled a cross from the left and unleashed a fierce shot that thudded the crossbar. 

From the ensuing melee, Kamala got in a shot on the volley, which again hit the crossbar. However, the referee had already blown the whistle for a foul on a SAI defender.

With this win, Kolhapur climbed over SAI to the third place on the table with seven points, but it was not enough for them to make it to the semifinals.

IWL 2019: SSB hit Panjim Footballers for a 6, take a step closer to semifinals

LUDHIANA: SSB Women Football Club took a step closer to qualifying for the semifinals of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League, after beating Panjim Footballers 6-2 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Ranjita Devi, Sumila Chanu and Sangita Basfore scored a brace each for SSB, while KArishma Shirvoikar netted two for Panjim.

Much like their previous games, Panjim broke the deadlock early on against the run of play when Karishma finished a swift move to put them in the lead.

However, once SSB settled into the game, there was no looking back for the side from West Bengal. India international Sangita Basfore equalised for SSB, as they went on to dominate the game for the rest of the half.

The second half was a completely different story. SSB came out with intent, and opened the proverbial floodgates after a one-two sucker punch a little after 10 minutes of the restart. Sumila Chanu and Sangita Basfore struck in quick succession.

Sumila scored again, a few minutes later as she dribbled past two defenders inside the box and slotted it into the bottom corner. Ranjita Chanu added a fifth for SSB, when she nodded in a corner from close range.

With a little under 10 minutes to go, Ranjita scored again, this time from a melee inside the penalty area, before Karishma added a consolation goal for Panjim in the dying seconds of the game.

IWL 2019: Gokulam Kerala stays perfect in group stage

LUDHIANA: Gokulam Kerala FC finished their Group I campaign with a perfect record as they beat Hans Football Club from Delhi by a convincing 3-1 margin at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Anju Tamang, Ranjana Chanu and captain Dalima Chhibber scored for Gokulam, while Anushka Samuel netted one for Hans Women.

Gokulam, who have already secured a spot in the semifinals, took the early initiative, as their forward Anju Tamang put them in the lead on the 10th minute. However, Hans took just a little over 10 minutes to get back on level terms, when Anushka Samuel converted a chance.

The side from Kerala dominated play for most of the first half, and eventually regained their lead, when Ranjana Chanu scored an absolute blinder of a goal. Being played into some space on the right, she took a touch and curled a left footer above and around Hans keeper Vanshika Rana.

Gokulam carried on much in the same vein in the second half as well, with captain Dalima Chhibber dominating in the middle of the park, while teenage sensation Manisha led the line for the Kerala side.

Eventually, Gokulam captain Dalima Chhibber extended their lead a little after the hour mark, when she the ball was crossed in from the left and she tapped it into the goal from inside the box.

Hans had the chance to halve the lead mid-way through the second half, when Anushka was played through on goal as she beat the Gokulam offside trap. She only had goalkeeper Linthoi to beat, but the latter made a fine save to keep Gokulam’s two-goal cushion.

With this result, Gokulam finish the group with five wins out of as many matches, having scored a total of 16 and conceded just one.