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Indian Women's League (IWL)

IWL: Karishma’s hat-trick leads Kickstart FC to a win over East Bengal

Karishma's hattrick meant that Kickstart FC move to top of IWL points table after defeating East Bengal 3-1.

IWL: Karishma’s hat-trick leads Kickstart FC to a win over East Bengal

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 16 Dec 2023 4:57 PM GMT

Karishma Shirvoikar scored the first hat-trick of the IWL 2023-24 season to guide Kickstart FC to a 3-1 win over East Bengal at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Saturday.

Last year’s finalists, Kickstart FC have now moved to the top of the table after two rounds with six points in their kitty.

Kickstart’s campaign on the home turf today wasn’t perhaps as comfortable as the scoreline looked in the end. The visitors did play their part, often commendably, and made the necessary noise in the rival area goalmouth. But while most of it proved to be much ado about nothing, Kickstart was more focused and did its job well when it came to doing the right things.

But the player who made all the difference was Karishma, with her constant probes through the right from the very beginning. With a vulnerable defense, East Bengal failed to stop the National Team footballer and paid heavily for it. Had she been a little more accurate, Karishma could have finished the day with a couple of more goals in her pocket. But what she did was enough to fetch her team three points.

Karishma missed at least two chances before she could breach the East Bengal defense five minutes before the half time. Two defenders were close to Karishma, but she did well to shield the ball and send it to the far corner.

East Bengal, who won their first match against Sports Odisha, made some inroads in the second half though none of them proved fruitful. Finally, Karishma again frustrated the red and golden brigade with the second goal in the 69th minute. She did well to get past two defenders, but her shot didn’t carry the expected punch. Yet it found the net as East Bengal goalkeeper Keisham Melody Chanu wasn’t as quick to anticipate the shot as she was expected to be.

East Bengal posed some threat briefly when the match entered the last five-minute phase. Junior international Sulanjana Raul, who came on as a substitute and brought some life into the East Bengal attacks, displayed her fine skills when she guided a long ball into the net with a deft angular shot.

But then, if East Bengal were hoping to make a grand comeback, it wasn’t on the cards. Karishma slammed in another goal on the run to complete her hat-trick and put the issue beyond the Kolkata team’s reach.

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