IWL – Odisha FC get revenge on Gokulam Kerala FC

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At the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha FC and Gokulam Kerala FC kicked off the opening encounter of match week 3 of IWL 2023–24. These two teams last faced off in the IWL 2022–23 quarterfinals, where Gokulam defeated Odisha FC 3-0 on penalties. Odisha FC took revenge this time, defeating Gokulam 2-0 at home to win convincingly.

Gokulam Kerala FC and Odisha FC had ranked second and third in the points table, respectively, coming into the match. This season, Odisha FC defeated Sports Odisha by a score of four goals to none in their first match. Conversely, Gokulam Kerala FC had played two matches: a 1-0 victory over Hops FC and a 0-0 tie with Sethu FC.

Odisha FC’s head coach Crispin Chhetri made two changes to the team that defeated Sports Odisha 4-0. Grace Hauhnar and Indumathi Kathiresan replaced Juli Kishan and Bannya Kabiraj. Anthony Andrews also made two changes for Gokulam Kerala FC. Durga P. and Veronica Appiah were replaced by Shubhangi Singh and Phoeby Okech Owiti.

IWL

Odisha FC got out to a quick start, causing problems for the Gokulam defense from the off. Ten minutes or so into the match, Pyari Xaxa darted down the left side and fired a shot that went wide off the goal. Shortly after, the Odisha defense erred in their attempt to play out from the back, giving Gokulam Kerala a great opportunity to take the lead. The Gokulam striker, Soumya Guguloth, fired a shot towards goal forcing Shreya Hooda into an incredible save.

After an amazing run, Dangmei Grace found Sandhiya Ranganathan in the 18-yard box with a pass in the 21st minute. Sandhiya struck a strong shot towards the goal, but Shreya Hooda saved it, resulting in a corner for Gokulam Kerala. Win Tun received the game’s first yellow card a little while later. The finest opportunity of the match came for Odisha FC moments later when Indumathi played the ball to Win Tun, who only needed to beat the goalie, however, Win Tun ended up missing the target.

Pyari Xaxa’s goal in the 32nd minute gave Odisha FC the lead they needed. An unmarked Pyari Xaxa headed the ball home after Sanju delivered a fantastic pass on the left flank to Jasoda Munda, who blasted a dangerous cross towards the far post. Gokulam Kerala had an instant opportunity to tie the score, but Dangmei Grace was denied by a fantastic reaction stop by Shreya Hooda.

Odisha FC

Shubhangi Singh, the Gokulam Kerala defender was stretchered off in the first half and was replaced by Durga. Win Tun had an opportunity to extend Odisha’s lead before the interval, but her shot was straight at Beatrice. Ashalata Devi was shown a yellow card for a foul on Win Tun before halftime. Karthika Angamuthu was also cautioned. With three minutes remaining in the first half, the hosts had a 1-0 advantage.

In pursuit of an equalizer, Gokulam Kerala FC had a solid start to the second half. Early in the second half, Gokulam suffered an injury setback as Payal Basude took Beatrice’s place. Win Tun had another opportunity to increase the advantage when Karthika found her in the 18-yard box, but substitute Payal blocked the shot to force a Gokulam corner. Anthony Andrews made two substitutions at the hour mark, replacing Sandhiya and Roja Devi with Veronica Appiah and Ratanbala Devi.

Although it was only inches away from the target, Indumathi Kathiresan’s attempt to double the advantage from outside the box was unsuccessful. In the 68th minute, Odisha made their first substitution of the match when Lynda Kom took Pyari Xaxa’s place. Gokulam got their biggest opportunity of the match in the 78th minute when Dangmei Grace sent the ball to Veronica Appiah, who blasted it right into Shreya Hooda’s palms. Dangmei Grace was booked for a challenge on Win Tun a few seconds later.

IWL

Odisha FC’s advantage was eventually increased thanks to a goal by Lynda Kom, the substitute. This time, Win Tun—the player who scored a brace in the previous game, became the provider after going on a blistering run down the right flank, defeating Durga and passing the ball to Lynda Kom, who eventually found the back of the net. For Odisha FC, Malatai Munda took Jasoda Munda’s place in the closing moments of the match.

Win Tun had an opportunity to seal the victory in the 87th minute when Indumathi Kathiresan delivered a fantastic pass toward her, but her effort struck the post. At the end of the second half, six more minutes were added. In stoppage time, Odisha persisted in their attack as Indumathi attempted a left-footed effort on goal, but Payal Basude made an incredible save to prevent Odisha from scoring their third goal. For the final four minutes of the match, Bannya Kabiraj took Karthika’s position. The game finished in a 2-0 victory for the hosts as Gokulam Kerala persisted in their attack but were unable to breach Odisha FC’s disciplined defense.

With six goals scored, zero goals conceded, and six points from two games, Odisha FC continued their winning streak. Gokulam Kerala suffered their first loss of the campaign. It was, in fact, the team’s first loss in four and a half years in IWL. They have had difficulty scoring goals this season; in three games, they have managed only one goal. Odisha FC will play their next game on January 5, 2024, against Sethu FC, while on January 6, 2024, Gokulam Kerala FC will play Sports Odisha.


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Shyam Sundar
Shyam Sundar
A youthful, diehard supporter of the Indian Football Team and Chennaiyin FC. Before the Lockdown, I didn't often watch Indian football! I occasionally kept up with the Blue Tigers, but not consistently. But ever since the lockdown, I've become really interested in Indian football. I may not have a background in journalism, but Indian football is something I am really passionate about.

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