Kickstart And Eastern Sporting Union Find Their Way To The Semis

Overtime winner Kioko Elizabeth sent Kickstart Karnataka to the Indian Women’s League semi-finals for the first time.

Kickstart had the better first ten minutes, but the first big chance came from HOPS’ Rajni Bala. This was the result of Pakpi Devi’s poor attempt to clear the cross from the left flank. Goalkeeper Maibam Devi somehow got her body going and collected the rebound to provide safety.

In the 17th minute, Sharda’s header from a Soniya Parak cross fell just short of Kaviya Pakkirisamy, whose reply hit the near post. Kickstart maintained a 1-0 lead until the half-time whistle.

Maibam struggled with two high crosses in a row, resulting in two quick chances for the kickstarts. Minutes later, a pledged ball from behind the defense was caught well by Renu Ravi, who needed just two and a half touches to equalize for HOPS.

Elizabeth missed a golden chance and scored the 2-1 equalizer for Kickstart in the 86th minute. She made up for it by deflecting a cheeky header into goal that was too clever for Anshika.

The stoppage-time hit proved enough for Kickstart to make its own history. Captain Dalima Chhibber was named Man of the Match.

Eastern Sporting Union are one step closer to repeating past glory

Out there in Shahibaug, Eastern Sporting Union Sports defeated Odisha 4-2 on penalties that followed the 1-1 draw. The overtime rule was broken as it would have been dangerous to play in the heat for so long.

The highlight of the shootout was that eight of the nine shots fell on the goalkeeper’s right side. Captain Parmeshwori Devi sealed the shootout for Union.

Sumitra Hembram pushed for a clean shot, but she hit the goalkeeper directly. ESU had a lead at half-time, but brilliant defensive combining play kept the threat away for Sports Odisha.

Just when it looked like ESU had completely lost control of the game, they scored from a set piece and took the lead. Poonam Devi’s long free-kick found Lhingdeikim, who headed in well. The ball hit goalkeeper Ritu Devi before it came in.

Ritu’s double save minutes later kept Odisha in the game. Manisha Nayak equalized in the 80th minute, placing the ball over the keeper for a brilliant finish.

Seconds before the end of regular time, Parmeshwori’s right-footed corner hit the bar and scared Sports Odisha. However, care was taken.

Eastern Sports Union must defeat defending champion Gokulam Kerala to regain the IWL trophy. Gokulam also advanced to the semifinals after winning the shootout. Kickstart FC, meanwhile, will face Sethu FC who are set to record an impressive 9-0 win over East Bengal.

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