Eastern Sporting Union clinch IWL title

AGENCIES/CHRONICLE BUREAU
NEW DELHI, 14th FEB : Eastern Sporting Union were crowned champions, defeating Rising Students Club 3-0 in the inaugural edition of the Indian Womens League (IWL) football championship at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday. Strikes from Kamala Devi (32th minute, 66th) and Prameshwori Devi (57th) led Eastern Sporting Union to an easy win over their opponents which was largely dominated both in possession and chances created by ESU.

              Although both teams tried to score the early goal to take an advantage going through the match, Eastern Sporting Union pressed onwards in the opening minutes with almost every move. Kamala Devi tried to catch the opposition custodian off guard with a cheeky touch in the 3rd minute but lacking venom her shot was easily saved.

             Kamala's early attempt almost rattled Rising Students' cage as they began to defend cautiously, committing bodies, while slowing down the tempo of the game. Attempts by Bembem and Prameshwori to foster goal-scoring chances were often nullified by the Rising Student defence. In the 24th minute, Prameshwori's cross almost ended in the back of the net, leaving the opposition custodian wrong-footed. However, the cross floated over the net as Rising Student survived another attack.

          It was a different scenario altogether in the 32nd minute as Eastern Union scored to take the lead when Kamala tapped home her 10th goal of the league campaign from a Prameshowri cross from the right flank to give ESU a solitary goal advantage. With Kamala and Prameshwori pressing higher up the pitch to make things difficult for the Rising Student's defence, Rising Student failed to foster any clear goal scoring opportunities in the first half as the half-time score-line read 1-0.

        Eastern Sporting Union picked up where they left off and two minutes into the second half, Kamala's cross found Kashmina clear in the box, but the latter's shot failed to find the net and went over the bar. Little did ESU had to wait for their second goal and in the 57th minute, Prameshwori played a one-two with Kashmina and scored from a narrow angle to make the score-line read 2-0.

         The second goal knocked the stuffing out of Rising Students Club and with low morale, they struggled to keep pace with Eastern Sporting Union. ESU however pressed to take an unassailable three-goal lead and put the tie to bed. And in the 66th minute Kamala did just that. The fleet-footed forward burst in the opposition box and blasted the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

         Champions ESU walked away with a prize money of Rs 10,00,000 while RSC received Rs 5,00,000. ESU scooped three individual prizes for best goalkeeper, most valuable player & best defender, and highest scorer. E Panthoi bagged the best goalkeeper award (one lakh), Th Umapati was named the most valuable player & best defender (Rs 1.25 lakh), and Y Kamala was given the highest scorer accolade (one lakh).

        Meanwhile, the most promising player award went to RSC’s Jabamani Tudu. She received a cash prize of Rs 75,000.


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