Gokulam Kerala FC met Shahrdari Sirjan of Iran for the second group stage match of the AFC Women's Club Championship. The Malabarians faced a frustrating 0-1 defeat in a match where they dominated the whole game. Gokulam Kerala FC's captain and goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan saw a red card and is set to miss the next group match due to the suspense of the same. Here are the talking points from the match.
Solid first-half display from Gokulam
Shree Gokulam Kerala FC played dominating football throughout the first half. They dominated the midfield and both the flanks and offered attacking football throughout the half. The Indian side was also rock solid at the back as Shahrdari Sirjan players were unable to manage even a single shot on target, their only attempt on goal came from a freekick at the 37th minute where the ball kissed the sky. The Gokulam ladies were playmaking from the back and displayed a fine performance in the first half.
Strong hands from Arefeh Kazemi
Although the outfield players didn't have much to offer, the goalkeeper of the Iranian side impressed in the first half. Arefah Kazemi alone made sure her team stays level at halftime. She was able to cut and clear every long ball opportunity that Gokulam created. Kazemi faced a couple of shots in her goal too but never looked to falter. However, in the second half, Kazemi didn't have much to do excluding an instance in the 84th min when Gokulam midfielder Manisha struck a shot but only could hit the post. She managed to keep a clean sheet despite some tough threats.
64th-minute drama – Ambulance, VAR, Red Card
The Video Assistance Referee come to use at the 64th minute when Aditi Chauhan, Goalkeeper, GKFC, made a nasty challenge on Sirjan forward Zahira Alizadeh outside the box. Chauhan was miles away from the ball when she came flying in on Alizadeh. The challenge resulted in the immediate withdraw of Alizadeh from the field of play. She was immediately shifted to a nearby hospital. Taking the help of VAR, the referee showed a direct red card to Gokulam captain Aditi Chauhan for her untimed challenge.
Freekick spoils the party for Gokulam
After all the scenes and drama at the 64th minute, the game resumed at the 68th minute with the freekick awarded against the red-carded challenge. Shahrdari Sirjan forward Afsaneh Chatrenoor lined up to take the freekick. She struck a left-foot shot, more of a chip towards the goal. The shot proved to be asking enough of recently substituted in Gokulam keeper Shreya. The ball finds the top right corner and hence resulted in the only goal of the match. The Iranian team was overjoyed and all came to celebrate, the scorer Afsaneh went on to show some dance moves to express her joy.
World-class display from Afsaneh Chatrenoor
Afsaneh Chatrenoor dropped a world-class performance against the Indian side. Despite Gokulam enjoying more dominance and control over the ball, Afsaneh turned the table with a freekick for her side. Since the starting minute of the game Afsaneh lookup impressive with the ball. She momentarily helped her team in the midfield to prevent Gokulam from scoring. With good first touch, quick feet, and the only goal to her name, Afsaneh Chatrenoor was undoubtedly the player of the match tonight.