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Indian Women's League (IWL)

IWL: All eyes on Group B as Odisha, Kickstart face each other

Group B of the Indian Women's League continues on with high octane action as the quest for the top spot goes on.

IWL: All eyes on Group B as Odisha, Kickstart face each other

Kickstart FC (Source: AIFF)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 29 April 2023 4:01 PM GMT

In their second fixture of the Hero Indian Women’s League 2023 season, Odisha FC and Kickstart FC Karnataka face off against each other at the Shahibaug Police Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at 8:00 am IST.

After winning their first match against the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) FC, the Juggernauts climbed to the joint top of the Group B table. Skipper Bala Devi was pivotal in the attack as the team displayed some quality brand of football.

Speaking about how Odisha will look to bank on the positives from the first game, head coach Crispin Chettri quoted, “We've had a good start to the season with our first win and want to keep that positive energy, even with many games coming up quickly. We'll focus on what we do well and prepare thoroughly for each match. We'll stay motivated and aim to have a winning attitude in every game.”

Further expressing his thoughts on Kickstart and the challenge they bring to the table, Chettri added, “Although they lost their first match against Eastern Sporting Union, they are a very strong team and have qualified for the league twice. However, we believe every game is important, and we do not consider any team big or small. We will need to show determination and resilience in this game, just like we do in our first match.”

On the other hand, Kickstart head coach Langam Chaoba Devi spoke about the areas of improvement for her side after the defeat in the opening match. “We need to have an aggressive approach in the first 15 minutes and score against them. If we can close them by pressing high, we can scare their defence and put pressure on them.”

She went on to reveal the mood in the dressing room ahead of facing a strong opposition in Odisha FC. “The players are feeling that they will face a strong opponent. But we need to encourage them. The girls need to have belief and trust each other,” she concluded.

Churchill Brothers vs CRPF FC

In search of their first win of the season, Churchill Brothers and CRPF clash swords at the same venue on Sunday at 4:30 pm IST.

The Goa-based side went down 6-0 against Sethu Madurai FC, while CRPF faced defeat with an identical scoreline against Odisha FC in their respective first games of the season. Churchill Brothers head coach Girijadevi Desai opened up on how her side is planning to bounce back after the defeat in the first game.

“We made many mistakes in the first game, but have worked on them and are planning to give our hundred percent in the next match. CRPF are a good side. I believe with a few changes in the team, we will perform well and win the match against them.”

Replicating his counterpart’s words, CRPF head coach Uttam Singh Negi quoted, “After analysing the first game, we have fixed the weak areas and are ready for the next match. We have seen Churchill Brothers play and have respect for them and will play with a positive frame of mind to win the game.”

Celtic Queens FC vs Eastern Sporting Union

Elsewhere at the TransStadia, debutants Celtic Queens FC will take on a solid challenge from Eastern Sporting Union at 8:00 am IST. The former faced defeat in their opening game against Lords and are aiming to find the rhythm heading into the next.

Celtic Queens head coach Nitesh Shah stated, “I believe we played well in the previous match and lost some crucial scoring chances which would have changed the game. Our girls will look to bounce back as we have been putting work in training and there has been a positive learning atmosphere about how we are going to play the next game, keeping the mistakes in mind and not repeating them. Hopefully, we'll be able to gain momentum and get the result we desire.”

Eastern Sporting Union, on the other hand, picked up a narrow 1-0 win over Kickstart in their first match and will be looking to build on the positives. “We would like to take forward the winning spirit from the first match and work hard for the same. The win boosts the confidence of players as well as the staff,” quoted head coach Lourembam Ronibala Chanu.

Sethu Madurai FC vs Lords FA Kochi

Group B high-flyers Sethu Madurai and Lords FA will gear up to face each other at the same venue at 4:30 pm IST. Both sides have had a solid start to their Hero IWL campaigns, registering big-margin victories. Sethu thrashed Churchill Brothers 6-0, while Lords FA ran out 4-0 winners over Celtic Queens.

Focusing on the upcoming game, Sethu head coach Joseph Naik said, “Every team and game is competitive. Lords are one of the league's best teams and are confident. But at the same time, we are calm and will aim to play good football.”

Lords FA head coach Nirvan Shah, too, went on to deliver his testimony for his side, as he revealed his expectations from the game on Sunday. “Sethu is a good team and they bring a different challenge to the table, which we plan to overcome.”

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