Gokulam Kerala kicked-off their campaign in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) with a thumping 5-0 win over defending champions Rising Students Club on Sunday in Ludhiana.
Manisha Kalyan’s brilliant hat-trick (19’, 72’, 78’) and goals each from India international Sanju Yadav (12’) and Anju Tamang (28’) humbled the last season’s winner.
Sanju opened the scoring with a finish from Dalima Chhiber’s pass in the 12th minute. Seven minutes later, Manish entered the opposition box with a solo effort going past a couple of defenders and found the back of the net.
Anju Tamang piled on more misery over the reigning champions as Gokulam were up by three goals within the first half an hour of the match.
In the second half, Gokulam coach Priya PV made a tactical change by sending Manisha upfront and bringing down Anju Tamang. The change in tactics further enhanced the attack force as Manisha sealed the fate of the match with two quality strikes in the 72 and 78th minute of the match and ensured a memorable win for the Gokulam ladies.
In the opening match of the season earlier in the day, FC Alakhpura began their season with a narrow 1-0 win over Hans Women FC.
India U-18 international Samiksha scored the only goal of the match for the Haryana-based club in the 18th minute to seal full three points for her side.
Alakhpura were in complete control all throughout the match but Hans FC did well to stop them from scoring more goals. Lead by youngster Samiksha, the Haryana side constantly posed threat on the Hans defenders.