IWL 2022: Gokulam Kerala crowned champions; defends title
Gokulam Kerala beat Sethu FC 3-1 to defend their IWL title.
It has been the epitome of success for Kerala in football this season! After Gokulam Kerala's men successfully defended their I-League crown, their women displayed their invincibility in Indian football by doing the same with back-to-back Indian Women's League titles — a first by an Indian club.
Coming in unbeaten and with superior goal difference in the virtual final at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday, they broke the dreams of a second title for Sethu FC by beating them 3-1 in the crucial encounter.
The match began on an optimistic note for Crispin Chhetri-coached Sethu as Ashalata Devi's failure to clear a cross from Anju Tamang in the third minute made it land near Renu Rani who headed it in to break the deadlock and sent the Sethu players on a celebratory frenzy
But the Antony Andrews-coached side got back into the game soon enough utilising a foul on Elshaddai Acheampong by Michel Castanha. Ashalata made up for her earlier error and put the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner of the net, away from the outstretched hands of Sethu custodian Soumiya Narayanasamy in the 14th minute.
The rest of the half belonged to the defending champions and they used all means to add to their scoresheet. Sethu could feel the pressure and in the 33rd minute, Pavithra M failed to clear a cutback from the indomitable Manisha Kalyan leaving an easy conversion from the prolific Elshaddai to tap it in for her 20th goal of the campaign.
The lead was doubled seven minutes later when Elshaddai turned provider in front of the goal for Manisha as the latter comfortably shot it in to make the score 3-1 in Gokulam's favour.
In other matches on the day, Deepa Nayak scored four goals and Pyari Xaxa hit a hat-trick to earn Sports Odisha a 7-0 win over Mata Rukmani at 7th Battalion Ground to finish the season on fourth spot, a rung above Indian Arrows, who lost their last match 0-1 to third-placed Kickstart FC, at Capital Ground.