Thursday , June 1 2023

Kickstart FC two good for Sethu FC to reach IWL final!

In the earlier semifinal, Kickstart FC made the IWL final for the first time in their history after defeating Sethu FC 2-0 at the TransStadia on Friday, May 19.

Sethu FC began the proceedings on a positive note as they came close to opening the scoring in the seventh minute. Sumati Kumari’s inch-perfect cross from the left flank was met by Apurna Narzary with a header. But her attempt deflected off a Kickstart FC defender and went out for a corner kick.

To the former IWL champions’ surprise, Kickstart FC took an unprecedented lead three minutes later. Kioko Elizabeth Katungwa caught the Sethu FC defence off-guard and poked an incoming ball through the legs of goalkeeper Anjila Subba to make it 1-0.

The team from Bengaluru continued to press hard and forced Sethu FC to play on the back foot. In the 24th minute, Kaviya Pakkirisamy almost doubled her side’s lead from a free-kick. The forward’s powerfully-struck left-footed shot missed the target by inches.

On the other end, Naorem Priyangka Devi came tantalisingly close to equalising for Sethu FC. The 20-year-old showed great footwork to see off a Kickstart FC defender and went for a long shot. Goalkeeper Maibam Linthoingambi Devi just got her fingertips to it as the ball hit the bottom side of the woodwork, before being cleared off by the Kickstart FC defence. The Madurai side were unlucky again as their top-scorer Kajol Dsouza’s solid strike came off the crossbar just a few minutes later.

However, it was Saru Limbu for Kickstart FC who produced a moment of sheer brilliance deep into the added time of the first half. The Nepal midfielder dribbled through the midfield unchallenged and had all the time to take a peek at the goal and drive it from distance. Her fierce strike was out of her international teammate Anjila Subba’s reach as it went straight through the top left corner and into the back of the net.

Sethu FC showed signs of resurgence in the second half as they looked desperate to bounce back into the game. In the 72nd minute, the lively Sumati Kumari marched forward for a through ball and fired a grounded shot with her left foot which missed the target by a whisker.

Kickstart FC held their two-goal lead firmly and capped off a memorable evening with a convincing win. Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi was adjudged the Player of the Match for her terrific outing in the Kickstart defence.

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