IWL 2023-24: Odisha FC climb back to top of table with a convincing win

February 4, 2024
Title contenders Odisha FC bagged three points with consummate ease when they brushed aside city-mates Sports Odisha 3-1 in the Indian Women's Football League

Bhubaneswar, Feb 4 (IANS) Title contenders Odisha FC bagged three points with consummate ease when they brushed aside city-mates Sports Odisha 3-1 in the Indian Women’s Football League (IWL) at the Capital Football Arena on Sunday. The winners led 2-0 at halftime.

On paper, the match was deemed the Odisha Derby. In reality, it was a sheer mismatch as the top-ranked team in the league table was pitted against a side struggling to avoid finishing at the bottom. There was no change of fortune at the end of the tie.

Odisha FC moved to the top with 19 points from seven matches, while Sports Odisha continued to be the bottom spooners having collected only two points from eight outings.

In the first meeting between the two teams in the IWL in December, Odisha FC beat Sports Odisha 4-0.

With as many as nine internationals in their ranks, Odisha FC were by far the superior side and exhibited this on every part of the pitch. After a few challenge-free runs through both flanks, the winners opened their scoring in the eighth minute when Indumathi Kathiresan ran down the left to cross the ball in the six-yard box. Lynda Kom, who was following the movement, was left unchallenged and it made her task of pushing the ball in easier.

That Odisha FC had to wait until the add-on time of the first session to score their second goal was a surprise. Because their dominance in the match was so complete, Sports Odisha could hardly make a decent movement in the rival area. Odisha FC goalkeeper Shreya Hooda never had to collect the ball, let alone make a serious save.

But then, Sports Odisha should get credit for breaching the mighty defence of Odisha FC in the second half, when Manisha Naik reduced the margin for the losers. This was only the second goal against Odisha FC in the entire campaign. In fact, in the last half an hour, Sports Odisha looked a far more vibrant side and forced the opposing defenders to take them more seriously.

However, Odisha FC didn’t have much to bother about as they were already enjoying a comfortable lead thanks to a two-goal effort by Myanmar striker Win Theingi Tun. On both occasions, the Sports Odisha defence found Win too hot to handle as she darted in effortlessly to beat goalkeeper Adrija Sarkhel.

–IANS/bsk/

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