Sethu FC won the final against Manipur Police SC by 3-1 goals to emerge winners in the third edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL). Radharani Devi’s early goal went in vain as it was cancelled out by Umapati Devi’s own goal before Sabitra Bhandari’s brace completed the formalities.
With Eastern Sporting Union and Rising Student’s Club having won the title in the previous two editions of the AIFF-organised league for the female footballers in the country, the competition got another new winner this year. Sethu FC scripted a spirited comeback to finally triumph in the final of the 12-team tournament at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
It was Sethu FC that kicked off on the front foot, as they sat deep to soak the opposition team’s attacks before breaking on lightning-fast counter-attacks and causing dangerous charges in the other half. Their left winger Sandhya was the main outlet for these team movements forward as she looked full of energy and did not let the Manipur defence settle with constant runs.
The national team player received the first real chance of the game as she got the ball near the inside edge of the 12-yard box and blasting a shot on goal, with a little more than 10 minutes played in the match. However, she did not really get any power behind it as the fluffed shot failed to create any problems.
Against the run of play, Manipur Police SC struck the first goal as they scored at the perfect time, with Radharani Devi putting one past the keeper from a corner at the brink of the half-time to break the deadlock.
With a seeming shift in the game plan as a result of the manager’s talk during half time, Sethu’s aggressive approach reaped rewards as they managed to level the scores just 11 minutes after the restart. Dangmei Grace burst through on the right wing before putting in a low ball for captain Indumathi Kathiresan whose shot took a cruel deflection off Umapati Devi resulting in an own goal. Sethu FC had equalized.
Having the much-needed momentum, it didn’t take them long to go ahead as just after five minutes, Nepal international Sabrita Bhandari was fed with a delightful through ball and she managed to go around the keeper and slot the ball into an empty net.
There was no coming back for the Manipur-based team and they looked the defeated team. The final whistle confirmed the inevitable as Sethu FC were declared the winners.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi