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.
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 ever so 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 very 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 very 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, like a fox in the box, to pick up the pieces. Sreebhumi showed great heart, defending for their lives but their lack of penetration up front turned out to be the difference of the day, as Gokulam Kerala held on to walk away with the three points.