Stage set for football semifinals

May 20, 2019, Ludhiana

FootballThird Hero Indian Women’s League


The round-robin league stage is over and the qualifying teams are now all set for the semifinals of the Third Hero Indian Women’s League, to be held on Monday, here at Guru Nanak Stadium.

The first semifinal will be between teams that have been on a prolific goal-scoring spree so far – Gokulam Kerala FC and Manipur Police Sports Centre. In the second semifinal, Sethu FC and SSB Central Women Football Club will face each other.

Gokulam has cruised through their group with a perfect record of five victories, scoring 16 goals and conceding just one goal. Manipur, on the other hand, have let in eight but have conversely netted a whopping 37 goals in their five matches. Coaches and captains of these four teams addressed the media on Sunday. The captains exuded the confidence to achieve victory on their respective sides.

Gokluam, who is the only club from the Hero I-League or the Hero ISL to field a team in the ongoing league, have gone all out to sign some of the top players this season. Captained by India international Dalima Chhibber, the Kerala-based outfit has been as strong as ever so far, this season. “We have set up our team to play good attacking football. We have spent time on the drawing board and chalked-out our tactics against Manipur. Manipur is also a very good team. So we are going to defend as a team as well,” said Priya PV, Gokulam head coach.

Manipur Police Sports Club

The team from the North-East has played some great quality football and has been one of the best teams in the tournament so far. Their success has been dependent on the fact that they have played a fluid game, often stretching the opposition’s defence.“We do not have any set formation per se. We are ready to change our formation according to the situation. Depending on how Gokulam play, we can change things around,” said Surmala Chanu, Manipur Police head coach. Sethu has been in a prolific form so far in this tournament, netting a whopping 34 goals in five matches. SSB, however, has been more of a compact unit that is more than happy to eke out the wins against any opposition.

Sethu FC

Sethu FC looked like the most complete team all around the park. They played an attacking brand of football, which their coach Amrutha Aravind stressed upon, ahead of their encounter against SSB Women.

“We have played well in the Group stage and we want to continue in the same vein by playing attacking football,” said Amrutha. So far, whatever we had worked on the training pitch before the tournament, had worked out for us. SSB is a good young side but we intend to keep playing our attacking brand of football and march on, she added.

SSB Women Football Club

While the likes of Gokulam, Sethu and Manipur Police have taken all the limelight, SSB has quietly gone about their job, piling up four wins from their five Group I matches. They have shown the propensity to eke out results and have come back well to pile on the points after an early 0-5 thrashing win at the hands of Gokulam Kerala FC.

“Yes, we had lost badly to Gokulam, but that match gave us the opportunity to retrospect and tweak the way we play. We have analysed Sethu’s game-play and have made our plans accordingly. They may be one of the best teams in the tournament but we will play to win tomorrow,” said Sujata Kar, SSB Assistant Coach.

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