IWL – Round 8 Checkpoint 

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In a thrilling display of skill and determination, the Hero IWL Round Eight unfolded with riveting matchups that left fans on the edge of their seats. Gokulam Kerala emerged victorious in a nail-biting clash against Sethu FC, securing a hard-fought win with a slender one-goal margin. The intensity continued as HOPS FC dominated the pitch, delivering a stellar performance against Kickstart FC, netting an impressive five goals to underscore their offensive prowess.

Meanwhile, East Bengal and Sports Odisha engaged in a fierce battle, ultimately settling for a hard-fought draw that showcased the competitive spirit of both teams. As the league progresses, each match becomes a crucial stepping stone for these talented teams, vying for supremacy in the Indian women’s football landscape.

Gokulam Kerala Secures Consecutive Victory in IWL

Gokulam Kerala FC, the reigning champions, etched their dominance further in the IWL 2023-24 with a second consecutive triumph, edging past former champions Sethu FC 1-0 in an intense away clash at Tilak Maidan, Goa, this Sunday. Unfortunately for Sethu FC, this marked their third consecutive defeat in the ongoing tournament.

Following this crucial victory, Gokulam ascended to the second position on the points table, amassing 14 points from seven matches. Notably, strong contenders Kickstart FC also share the same points, albeit having played one game less than Gokulam. In stark contrast, Sethu FC’s struggles persist, accumulating seven points from an equal number of outings.

Hero IWL – Round 8 Checkpoint 
Sandhiya Ranganathan’s goal was the only goal to be scored in the match of Hero IWL between Gokulam Kerala & Sethu FC

The match held significant anticipation, with Gokulam and Sethu having played to a goalless draw in the first leg at EMS Corporation Stadium. The encounter in Goa saw Gokulam making a whirlwind start, securing a goal in the second minute courtesy of Sandhiya Ranganathan’s exceptional strike from outside the Sethu box. Despite the Malabarians’ evident dominance, they couldn’t extend their lead, as Sethu FC played a subordinate role with minimal threat to their opponents. Anjila Subba, Sethu FC’s goalkeeper, showcased her skills with several fine saves, keeping Gokulam’s forwards at bay.

Also Read : Hero IWL – Round 7 Checkpoint 

Ranganathan’s goal remained the solitary one of the match, as Gokulam, despite relentless pressure, couldn’t find the back of the net again. Notable attempts included Ugandan striker Fazila Ikwaput’s long-distance effort in the 22nd minute and Shilky Devi’s shot outside the box in the 28th minute, both thwarted by Anjila’s adept goalkeeping. Looking ahead, Gokulam Kerala is scheduled to face HOPS FC in Hero IWL on February 3, while Sethu FC is set to challenge East Bengal FC on February 11, as the teams continue their quest for success in the IWL 2023-24 season.

HOPS FC’s Fredrica Torkudzor shines with a hat-trick in the victory over Kickstart FC

In a spectacular display, HOPS FC delivered a clinical performance, securing a resounding 5-1 victory against Kickstart FC. The match showcased the prowess of HOPS FC, with striker Fredrica Torkudzor stealing the spotlight by netting a remarkable hat-trick, completing the trifecta in injury time during the second half. Shailja and Gladys Amfobea also contributed to HOPS FC’s commanding win by adding one goal each to the scoreline.

Despite an early lead for Kickstart FC courtesy of Karishma Shirvoikar, who opened the scoring, Torkudzor and Amfobea relentlessly pressured the Bengaluru side’s defence, striving to bring HOPS back into the game. Torkudzor showcased her finesse in the 28th minute, elegantly controlling a long ball from Rinku Devi and executing a flawless run that resulted in the equalizer. Shailja further tilted the scales in favour of HOPS, securing the lead with a spectacular effort from outside the box just six minutes before halftime. In the second half, Kickstart displayed increased momentum, maintaining prolonged spells of possession. However, HOPS adopted a strategic approach, sitting back and leveraging wing play to create scoring opportunities.

Hero IWL – Round 8 Checkpoint 
HOPS FC celebrates after their win against Kickstart FC in 2023-24 IWL

This tactical decision proved fruitful as Torkudzor, connecting with a well-placed ball from Amfobea, doubled the lead for HOPS. Amfobea herself joined the scoring sheet 24 minutes later, slotting home a pass inside the penalty area. The misery for Kickstart continued as Torkudzor capitalized on a defensive mistake to complete her hat-trick deep into injury time. With this commanding victory, HOPS FC now occupies the fourth position on the IWL table with 10 points, while Kickstart FC remains in the third spot with 14 points.

East Bengal and Sports Odisha Play to a Stalemate in Goalless Draw

In a keenly contested Indian Women’s League match at the East Bengal Ground on Tuesday, East Bengal FC and Sports Odisha settled for a goalless draw. Both teams, each eager for crucial points, approached the match cautiously, with the Red and Gold Brigade gradually gaining momentum as the game unfolded. Sports Odisha had an early opportunity as Deepa Nayak’s header narrowly missed the target after connecting with a cross.

East Bengal, commanding more possession, sought to penetrate the final third, aided by their first foreign signing, Sanjida Akhter. The Bangladesh international, making her debut, had a promising chance in the 33rd minute with a curving attempt that narrowly missed the mark. Sports Odisha, resilient in defence, attempted a shot on target in the 44th minute through Amrita Jaishi, easily collected by East Bengal’s goalkeeper Keisham Melody.

Hero IWL – Round 8 Checkpoint 
Sports Odisha and East Bengal played out a 0-0 draw in the Indian Women’s League

Despite the Red and Gold Brigade’s efforts, they struggled to convert chances in the second half, extending their five-game losing streak. Head coach Dipankar Biswas introduced attacking changes, but East Bengal could not alter the scoreline, scoring only once in their last four matches. Sports Odisha, on the other hand, secured their first clean sheet of the season, marking their second consecutive draw after a 1-1 result with HOPS two weeks ago.

Sports Odisha could have clinched victory if not for Melody’s crucial save denying Sumitra Hembram’s header. Amrita Jaishi also missed a late opportunity for the visitors. The match concluded in a goalless stalemate, leaving both teams with their respective challenges. East Bengal FC is set to host Kickstart FC on February 5, while Sports Odisha returns to Bhubaneswar to face league leaders Odisha FC on February 4.


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Ishayu Gupta
Ishayu Gupta
Mohun Bagan, Madrid and more!

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