Last year’s quarterfinalists East Bengal FC began their Indian Women’s League 2023-24 campaign in style, defeating Sports Odisha 2-0 at the Capital Football Arena on Sunday, December 10, 2023. The winners led 1-0 at half time.
The famous Red and Golden Brigade, coached by Dipankar Biswas, began in a whirlwind fashion and stormed the rival goal from the word go. It paid dividends almost immediately as East Bengal took the lead in the very second minute before Sports Odisha could settle in.
Forward Nongmeikapam Sibani Devi put the visitors in the lead within a couple of minutes which completely put Odisha on the backfoot. Sibani is a junior international, who has represented the country in the various Under-17 tournaments multiple times.
Once having taken the lead, East Bengal took control and managed to keep the advantage despite Sports Odisha’s efforts to make a comeback. The local side’s spirit got dampened when the Kolkata team consolidated their position with yet another strike in the 59th minute. Kshetrimayum Margaret Devi was the scorer this time and it put paid to Odisha’s hopes.
Last season, Sports Odisha finished ahead of East Bengal FC in the group stage. Clubbed in the same group, Sports Odisha were second behind ultimate champions Gokulam Kerala FC, while East Bengal FC ended up in the third position. Both teams, however, were eliminated in the last eight knock-out battles.