Gokulam Kerala FC registered a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sreebhumi Football Club to get their Hero Indian Women’s League (IWL) campaign underway with three points at Bengaluru on Sunday.
Sabitra Bhandari scored the solitary goal of the game in the 67th minute.
The first half was largely dominated by Gokulam in terms of possession, but Sreebhumi did well to stand their ground and keep their opponents at bay.
The game remained goalless going into the breather, with Gokulam in the ascendency.
In the second half, the tempo remained the same as the Malabarians continued to overload the final third but risked getting caught on the counter. However, the strategy paid dividends not long after.
In the 47th minute, Sabitra Bhandari played Kamala Devi through on goal with a delightful pass and with only the keeper to beat, couldn’t convert.
Sreebhumi Malik came off her line and pulled off a ‘starfish’ save but the rebound still fell to Kamala Devi, who at the second time went around the keeper but hit the woodwork, leaving her to wonder if it indeed was Gokulam’s day.
However, a howler from Malik, not long after her heroics served Gokulam the lead on a platter.
A cross into the box that would be easy-pickings for a keeper, she misjudged the flight of the ball and Sabitra Bhandari was there to pick up the pieces.
In another match, Bangalore United Football Club fought off late resilience from Bidesh XI Sports Club to register a 2-1 win.
A brace from Satyabati Khadia gave BUFC a two-goal cushion, but a late strike from Bidesh’s Sushmita Jadhav gave way to a nervy finish.