Gokulam Kerala FC delivered a stunning performance, clinching a 2-1 victory over Odisha FC at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on February 9, 2024, shaking up the IWL 2023-24 title chase.
The game began with Odisha FC taking a quick lead, with their captain, Indumathi Kathiresan, scoring the fastest goal of the season within just 23 seconds of the match starting. Despite this early setback, Gokulam Kerala FC bounced back quickly, thanks to the heroics of Fazila Ikwaput, who scored two goals in the first half to put her team in the driving seat.
Ikwaput's first goal was a well-placed finish in the 15th minute, which came thanks to an assist from Soumya Guguloth. The second goal came just before halftime, as Ikwaput tapped in Anju Tamang's perfect pass to secure her brace. This put Gokulam Kerala FC firmly in control of the game, and they dominated proceedings in the first half, with their goalkeeper, Shreya Hooda, kept busy by a barrage of shots from her international counterparts.
Despite a spirited second-half display from Odisha FC, they were unable to find their rhythm and replicate their earlier success against Gokulam Kerala FC. While the margin of victory for Gokulam Kerala FC could have been greater with more clinical finishing, Odisha FC's defense stood firm against several attacking threats.
Gokulam Kerala FC's victory was their fourth consecutive win of the season, and it puts them at the top of the table with 20 points from nine games. However, the destiny of the title remains in the hands of the Kalinga Warriors, who have a match in hand. This defeat serves as a significant setback in Odisha FC's pursuit of the championship.
Both teams will resume their pursuit of the title after the international break, with Gokulam Kerala FC facing bottom-side Sports Odisha on March 3, while Odisha FC will clash with Sethu FC in Goa on March 2.