By Harpal Singh Bedi
Bangalore United FC and Kolhapur City chalked identical 2-0 victories over Baroda Football Academy and SAI-STC Cuttack respectively in the Hero Indian Women’s Football League in Ludhiana, on Thursday.
‘Bangalore United got their first win as they beat Baroda Football Academy through goals from Sivakumari Arumugam and Paromita Sit. With this win Bangalore now move on to four points from as many games in Group II.
Bangalore were the dominant of the two sides as they looked to keep the ball for long spells and pass it around.
Captain Amoolya Kamal was perhaps their most influential player from the middle of the park, combining well with Khushbu Kumari to form a formidable midfield partnership.
The winners got their breakthrough with a little less than 10 minutes left for the half-time whistle, when Sivasankari Arumugam gave them the lead.
After the changeover, Baroda attempted to orchestrate their attacks through left winger Mona. However, Bangalore pushed their defence stalwart Komal Kumari into the holding midfield position to neutralise the threat.
Bangalore threw forward Paromita Sit into the mix in the second half, and she had an influence on the play, linking up with Amsa.
With a little under 10 minutes of regulation time left, Paromita once again linked up with Amsa, who cut inside and relayed it off for captain Amoolya. The Bangalore captain’s first-time shot rattled the crossbar.
The combination finally worked out with about five minutes of regulation time left. Amsa was fed the ball on the right wing, as she dashed into the box and sent in a low cross that Sit merely had to tap into the goal from inside the six-yard-box.
In the other match of the day it was a mixture of both experience and youth, as Kamala Devi and Renu scored the two goals for Kolhapur.
With this win, Kolhapur climbed over SAI to the third place on the table with seven points, but it was not enough for them to make it to the semi-finals.
Kolhapur were on the offensive from the very start and got the lead early on when captain Kamala Devi dribbled past two defenders and fired it in from outside the box on the seventh minute.
They went on to double their lead in a little over 10 minutes before the half-time whistle, when Renu put one in from long range. The India U-19 international received the ball on the right, dribbled past a defender and sent in a cross that sailed over SAI keeper Subha Patra into the goal.
The proceedings continued to be dominated by Kolhapur in the second half, as they looked up to their strong backbone — Jabamani Tudu in defence, Kunti Kumari Lakra holding the middle, and Nigerian Crystal Eke leading the line.
With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Renu had a chance to score a brace when she controlled a cross from the left and unleashed a fierce shot that thudded the crossbar.