Indian Women's League 2017-18: Rising Student's Club are champions!

AIFF Media
The Odisha-based outfit defeated Eastern Sporting Union 5-4 on penalties that went into sudden death...

Rising Student's Club and Eastern Sporting Union (ESU) played out a 1-1 at full time in the final of the Indian Women's League (IWL) played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya, on Saturday.

Roja Devi had given the former champions a first half lead in the 13th minute which was cancelled by Sanju's 71st minute strike. The score-line remained the same after playing two halves of additional time before the result had to be decided via a penalty shoot-out that ended after each team took eight penalties.

The same two teams were in the final of the IWL's inaugural edition last year, held at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi, where ESU had emerged on top with a 3-0 win courtesy of a brace from Kamala Devi beside's Prameshwori Devi's goal.

RISING STUDENT [Sanju 71'] 1-1 (1-1 AET, 5-4 PSO) EASTERN UNION [Roja Devi 13']

IWL 2017-18 champions Rising Student's Club

Rising Student's Club began the tie on an offensive note as Ngoubi Devi almost sneaked in the opener in the third minute.

That was however followed by Roja Devi's strike from outside the box that found rival goalkeeper Tikina Samal off position to prevent Eastern Sporting Union from pulling ahead in the 13th minute.

Bembem Devi's side grew in confidence as Mandakini Devi attempted to double her side's lead but her shot from an acute angle only managed to find the outside net in the 19th minute.

Meanwhile, Rising Student's Supriya Routray saw her shot stray wide from a flagkick in the 40th minute that would have other-wise taken the sides into the break on level terms.

Crossing over, Roja Devi could have broken the second half deadlock just six minutes into play but her shot was wide of the mark as ESU kept the Rising Student's forward line at bay with relative ease while dominating in midfield.

However, against the run of play, Sukla Dutta's side were back in the game after Sanju converted a penalty in the 71st minute.

The game was thereafter inadvertently taken into extra time with none of the two sides getting close to finding a regulation time winner.

Roja Devi, as was the trend in the match, was the first to have the opportunity to score in the 94th minute before Mandakini Devi’s free-kick was thwarted by Tikina two minutes later. Roja Devi shot another attempt wide in the 105th minute.

GFX IWL 2017-18 champions Rising Student's Club

In the resultant penalty shoot-out that followed, Rising Student's captain Supriya Samal scored the winning penalty in sudden death after Tikina Samal made four saves. The others who scored for the eventual champions were Sanju, Pyari Xaxa, Supriya Routray to take the shoot-out into sudden death and Tikina herself.

Tikina first blocked Radharani Devi's penalty and ended with a save against Ranjibala Devi's shot before finding herself with the easy job of blocking feeble attempts by Premi Devi and Umapati Devi.

For the runners-up, Panthoi Chanu had made two saves off Anju Tamang and Jabamani Tudu while Sahoo's shot came off the upright. The scorers for ESU were Mandakini Devi, Prameshwori Devi, Ranjibala Devi and Sweety Devi.

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On account of being champions, Rising Student's Club got richer by INR 10 lakhs while runners-up Eastern Sporting Union had to be content with INR 5 lakhs.

ESU's skipper Prameshwori Devi was conferred with the 'Most Valuable Player' and a prize money of INR 1.25 lakhs with her team-mate Dangmei Grace was adjudged the 'Emerging Player' worth INR 75,000.

In two more awards for Manipuri team, Bala Devi won INR 1 lakh for finishing as the top scorer with 14 goals, while 'Best Goalkeeper' Panthoi Chanu also took home INR 1 lakh.