Last year’s finalists Rising Students Club began their quest in the 2017-18 Hero Indian Women’s League (IWL) with a 2-0 win over debutants Gokulam Kerala FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Monday (March 26, 2018).
After a barren first half, goals from Ngoubi Devi in the 73rd minute and Anju Tamang in the 76th enabled Rising to clinch all three points.
The match began with Rising controlling the pace and tempo of the match in the opening 10 minutes. Slowly but surely Gokulam clawed themselves back as their Ugandan international Fazila made regular forays into the box down the left flank.
It almost paid off too in the 16th minute as Fazila headed it in from a terrible mix up at the back but the lineswoman ruled her offside. The momentum of the match too shifted towards the Southern side but they were unable to find the net.
Meanwhile on the other side Rising came close once when Anju found herself in the clear, but she hit it over to the disappointment of her coach. The decisive moment of the half arrived in the 42nd minute when Fazila lashed one towards the goal, only for it to come off the crossbar as the it ended goalless in the first half.
The second half began in a similar fashion to how the first ended as Gokulam clearly looked the better of the two. But their poor finishing and indecisiveness in the final third didn’t help their cause.
The game turned scrappy thereafter as long balls were played in the hopes of finding their target woman. Fazila came close again when she hit the side netting in the 67th minute.
Finally, the elusive goal arrived in the 73rd minute. Ngoubi launching into forward struck to make it 1-0 in favour of Rising. Soon after in the 76th Anju Tamang chipped it over the goalkeeper’s head to give a 2-0 lead.
Gokulam were shaken by the two quick goals as they looked flustered at the back. Rising could have scored more but their wastefulness acted as a deterrent.
Rising Students Club will next face Eastern Sporting Union on March 28 while Gokulam Kerala FC will take on Sethu FC on March 29.