GOKULAM KERALA FC BECAME the second club ever to score double digit goals in an Indian Women's League final round match, beating Kenkre FC 10-1 in a Group B fixture today.
The first hour of the match saw a one sided bulldozing of the Kenkre defence by a strong GKFC attacking line-up headed by the likes of Sabitra Bhandari, Manisha Kalyan, Grace Lalrampari, Karishma Shirvoikar as well as midfielder Kashmina who had a free-flowing role across the length of the pitch.
The Malabarians started creating chances from early on and success came immediately. They scored seven goals in the first half and right after the hour mark reached double digit. Sabitra got 5 goals to her name, Karishma got a hat-trick while Manisha and Grace notched up one goal apiece. Soumya Guguloth scored the solitary goal for Kenkre 35 minutes in.
After scoring 10 goals with a third of the match still to go, GKFC looked set to make history by breaking Manipur Police's record of having the largest victories in IWL final round history; which they earned beating SAI-STC Cuttack and Bangalore United FC by 10-0 margin last season.
But the Kenkre team changed their defensive strategy a little bit; playing a high defensive line that repeatedly caught GKFC attackers in the offside trap. They also put more bodies in the midfield, getting more possession and creating chances from the counters. Even with a few minutes to go and no chance to win the match, Kenkre did not give up; they were running up to pressurize the GKFC defence during free kicks and corners trying to pick up that extra goal.
The heat also perhaps played a role and GKFC players slowed down in the final third of the match; maybe also because they had already ensured victory. Still, a golden opportunity to make history came their way when Manisha's shot hit the Kenkre crossbar in the 88th minute. But that much awaited 11th goal never happened.
Watch the entire match courtesy the Indian Football Team facebook page...
This decisive victory moves Gokulam Kerala FC to the top of the table in Group B, with 6 points from 2 matches. Their fearsome attack has also established them as one of the main title contenders this season.
Kenkre, who had started on a winning note beating Odisha Police 4-1, have suffered a setback here; but will try to bounce back against Bidesh XI SC on 31st January.
GKFC, meanwhile, have 3 rest days coming up. Their next outing will be against Odisha Police on 1st February.