Kangchup Road Young Physical & Sports Association (KRYHPSA) got the better of Rising Student Club while Eastern Sporting Union (ESU) beat Sethu FC in the two semi-finals of the ongoing Indian Women's League (IWL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya, on Thursday.
Rising Student and ESU, who were the only two sides to be part of the six-team IWL in its inaugural edition, will hence play a repeat of last year's final wherein Eastern Union had emerged victorious by a 3-0 margin with Kamala Devi finishing as one of the tournament's top scorers (with 15 goals besides Alakhpura's Sanju Yadav).
KRYHPSA 0-0 (0-0 AET, 3-4 PSO) RISING STUDENT
KRYHPSA got off to a quick start with the motive to gain an early lead, as top scorer Bala Devi's attempted volley from inside the box missed the target in the very first minute.
Dangmei Grace who had scored four times in the group stage was denied in the 10th minute by Rising Student Club goalkeeper Tikina Samai, who prevented her goal from being breached a couple more times. She pulled off a stunning save to block Bala Devi from giving her side the lead.
Rising Student had chances too as they rattled the woodwork in the 73rd minute before Subhadra Sahu shot wide in the ensuing minutes.
With the game into injury time, Bala Devi's header went over after Ratanbala Devi had earned KRYHPSA a corner. In extra time as well, Bala Devi managed to hit the framework from close range.
After 120 minutes of footballing action failed to produce a goal, the result had to be decided via a penalty shoot-out.
Bala Devi's opening penalty was saved by Samai, who also denied Ratanbala from 12 yards out. Roshini had saved Sanju's penalty but Ashalata Devi, Ranjana Chanu and Gace's goals were in vain. Jabamani Tudu scored the winner for Rising Student after Ngoubi Devi, Xaxa and Nandini Munda converted from the spot.
Rising Student Club hence defeated KRYHPSA 4-3 in the tie-breaker to record a second consecutive appearance in the final of the IWL.
EASTERN UNION [Prameshwori Devi 99’, Mandakini Devi 105’] 2-0 SETHU FC
Eastern Sporting Union left it very late to score twice in extra time against Madurai-based Sethu FC and seal their place in the final of 2018 IWL.
ESU had found the back of the net through Mandakini Devi's flick over onrushing goalkeeper Sowmiya N in the 25th minute, but the goal was ruled off-side.
That was the only clear chance of the first half. Eastern Union resumed the second half as the better side.
There were shouts for a penalty in the 68th minute when Prameshwori Devi's shot appeared to come off a Sethu FC defender's hand in the box, though the referee thought otherwise.
As Sethu FC primarily resorted to hitting back on the counter, ESU began using the long ball tactic that nearly paid off in the 76th minute. Roja Devi was on the receiving end of Prameshwori's lob in the box but for a feeble strike that caused no harm.
Roja Devi was guilty of putting down another good chance in the 85th minute as she failed to apply the finishing touch to another of Prameshwori's deliveries, while Sethu FC's Indumathi also struck wide on the other side.
ESU finally went ahead nine minutes into the first period of extra time as Prameshwori took things into her own hands to score the elusive goal.
Mandakini Devi then doubled her side's lead by slotting in a direct free-kick in the 105th minute that confirmed the Manipuri team's spot in the final.
As a result, Odisha's Rising Student Club will face Eastern Sporting Union in the title-deciding clash on April 14.