Kickstart FC secured their place in the final of the 2023 Indian Women’s League after a convincing victory over former champions Sethu FC from Madurai in the IWL being held at Ahmedabad. Kickstart FC dominated the first half of the match and pinned Sethu FC to their half for most periods and scored the two goals that mattered in the first half itself.
Before the match, Coach Langam Chaoba Devi made two changes to the line-up that faced HOPS FC in the quarterfinal, bringing in Kioko Elizabeth and Oinam Babita Devi for Renuka and Sonia Marak respectively.
The match started with Kickstart FC controlling the game for most parts. Their dominance paved the way for some early chances as Dalima’s free-kick in the third minute missed the goal by a whisker and Sethu FC was being overrun by an enthusiastic Kickstart FC side. In the 11th minute, Banti Sharma’s lobbed ball found Kioko Elizabeth, who skillfully bypassed a defender and slotted the ball between the legs of the onrushing Sethu FC goalkeeper, giving Kickstart FC the lead.
The first goal provided the much-needed confidence for Kickstart FC against the former champions and then they put on a dominant show. Meanwhile, Sethu FC was trying hard to get into the match by scoring the equalizer. Chances fell to Kajol D’souza and Priyangka Devi as their shots hit the woodwork twice. At the other end, Nepali international Saru Limbu who has been in sublime form all through this campaign latched on to the ball and fired an incredible shot that found the back of the net, doubling Kickstart FC’s lead.
The second half saw Sethu FC trying to reduce the deficit, but Kickstart FC’s defense held firm and thwarted their attacking threats. As the match progressed, both teams felt the effects of the demanding climate, resulting in a slower pace. Sethu FC piled on the pressure in search of goals but was unsuccessful. Kickstart FC’s defence, led by Captain Dalima Chhibber and Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi, delivered an outstanding performance.
In the final, Kickstart FC will face defending IWL champions Gokulam Kerala FC.
Defender Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi of Kickstart FC was awarded the Hero of the Match title for her outstanding performance.