Shillong, Apr 13: Eastern Sporting Union (ESU) will go into tomorrow’s final of the second edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL) as narrow favourites, but challengers Rising Students Club are in no mood to let the Manipur-based team to walk away with the title for a second consecutive year.
ESU had beaten Rising Students 3-0 in last year’s final and have already beaten them once in this year’s edition; 1-0 was the result on 28th March.
“We are confident for the final. We have many experienced players and I expect them to maintain discipline and give their 100% in the match,” Indian football legend and ESU coach Oinam Bembem Devi said yesterday after her side came through the semifinal against Sethu FC 2-0 in extra time.
The defending champions remain the only unbeaten side, having won five of their seven games, with two draws.
Rising Students, on the other hand, had a tougher route to the final, going down in defeat twice, once as mentioned to ESU, while the other loss was to Sethu.
However, they really showed their mettle in the semifinal where they were up against KRYPHSA, who had qualified for the last-four as the first-placed club in the league stage of the competition. Normal time and extra time ended goalless, but the Odisha-based side held on in the tiebreaker, winning 4-3 on penalties.
“We had some injuries and when it looked like neither side would score we went for the tiebreaker,” Rising’s coach Sukla Dutta said of the semi. “We’re going to be in attacking mode on Saturday because a final is a final.”
Bembem and Dutta were at perfect ease together at the press conference as the two had played together and Dutta was even Bembem’s coach for a period.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Football Association President Larsing Ming Sawyan congratulated all the seven teams that took part in IWL 2017-18’s final round and especially the four semifinalists.
“It’s going to be a replay of last year’s final and I wish the two teams all the best and we expect a good match,” Sawyan said. “I appeal to the football fans of the state to come out and cheer on both teams. It would be a great support for Indian women’s football in what is sure to be a momentous final.”
The match will begin at the revised time of 4PM at the JN Stadium and entry is free for all.
(TSR photo. Oinam Bembem Devi (left), Sukla Dutta (right))