Ludhiana: The Indian Women's League 2019 got off to a blazing start in Ludhiana on Sunday as Gokulam Kerala and FC Alakhpura came out as the two winners on the day at the back of solid performances.
Gokulam have come in the league this season boasting of several big names and Indian women's national team players and that showed when they took the field against defending champions Rising Student's Club.
The defending champions were made to look like novices as Gokulam ran all over them beating them 5-0 at the Guru Nanak Stadium.
It was a hat-trick day for Punjab's own Manisha Kalyan as she found the back of the net twice in Gokulam's victory, one of those goals being a stunning long-ranger.
Apart from her, Sanju Yadav and Anju Tamang were the other goalscorers.
Barring the first 15-20 minutes when the possession was pretty much even, Gokulam were all over Rising Student's for the rest of the match. Gokulam found it extremely easy to find the gaping holes in Rising Student's Club's defence and if not for their goalkeeper Rani, the defending champions might have had an even more embarrassing scoreboard.
As early as the 12th minute of the match, Sanju ran into the Rising defence and launched a sweet strike into the back of the net.There was never a moment after that when Rising could relax as Gokulam launched forays after forays into their six-yard box. Soon in the 19th minute, Manisha got her first goal on the board when she ran past the keeper to slot the ball home.
Just nine minutes later, another of Indian international, Anju Tamang picked the ball in the middle of the box and shot it home to get Gokulam 3-0 up.
Gokulam would have had their fourth off some brilliant movement by the players in the 32nd minute but Sanju scored the goal and she was flagged offside.
With 3-0 scoreline at half time, Rising Student's had much to think about but the story didn't change at all after the break.
After much of the second half went with the ball just travelling along the length and breadth of the pitch, Manisha launched a scintillating strike to find Gokulam's fourth goal of the day in the 72nd minute.
Dalima Chhibber lay the ball for Manisha after a melee sort of a situation in the midfield but Manisha kept herself stable and unleashed a brilliant strike.
Six minutes later, Manisha got her hat-trick when Sanju did all the running and intricate work to lay the ball off for Manish, who simply slotted the ball home.
The match, which was a 4pm kick off, also saw two water breaks in order to get the players some required hydration in the hot and humid conditions.SAMIKSHA TAKES ALAKHPURA TO WIN
India U-18 international Samiksha scored a fabulous and the only goal as FC Alakhpura beat Hans Women FC 1-0 in the Indian Women's League opener on Sunday.
Hans had the early initiative in the match but as Alakhpura grew into the match, they were able to find spaces more often than not.
In the 17th minute, Hans keeper Deepika Venkatesh had a little fumble and Alakhpura punished her for it as Samiksha rounded off the keeper for a clean goal.
It was an even match throughout with both teams creating chances but none could get another goal on the board.