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IWL 2021/22: Gokulam Kerala create history by winning second title

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Gokulam Kerala created multiple histories after winning the Indian Women’s League (IWL) 2021/22 trophy on the final day of the season by beating the runners-up Sethu FC. While the Malabarians became the first team to win more than one IWL title, they also became the first club to win both the I-League and IWL titles in the same season.

On Thursday (26th May) night, the defending champions (2019/20) Gokulam Kerala women’s team faced the IWL 2018/19 winners Sethu FC in the last game of the IWL 2021/22 at Kalinga Stadium (Bhubaneswar). As both teams already won all their first 10 games this season, and they were battling with the 30 points each this season, it was the virtual final for both these teams.

IWL 2021/22
Image Credit: Twitter

While the Malabarians had to draw to retain their IWL title, Sethu FC had to win their last game of this season due to having the worst goal difference record (+38) than the defending champions (+60). Both teams were very close to creating new history by becoming the first team to win the IWL trophy for the second time.

IWL 2021/22: Sethu FC managed to claim an early lead, but Gokulam Kerala won by 3-1

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At the end of the game, Gokulam Kerala beat Sethu FC by 3-1 and retained the IWL title. With that victory, the Malabarians secured the IWL 2021/22 trophy with 33 points in 11 games as they won all the matches of this competition. Meanwhile, the runners-up Sethu FC finished this tournament with 30 points in 11 matches as they lost their only game of this competition on the final day.

Gokulam Kerala women
Image Credit: Twitter

Sethu FC got the very early lead in the game when Renu Rani scored with a header in the third minute of the game.

But in the 14th minute, Ashalata Devi levelled the scoreline for the Kerala team by successfully converting a penalty.

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Ghanaian footballer Elshaddai Acheampong set the first leading goal for the Malabarians in the 33rd minute after a defensive mistake in front of the post. In the 40th minute, Manisha Kalyan scored the third goal for Gokulam Kerala in the game.

In the second half of the game, both teams had chances to change the scoreline but they failed to achieve any further success.

Malabarians wrote new histories in Indian football

It was the fifth IWL season where the Malabarians won the IWL trophy for the second time. Here are some historic facts after the end of this IWL season.

  • Gokulam Kerala became the first team to win more than one IWL trophy.
  • Gokulam Kerala also became the first club to win both the I-League and IWL titles in the same season.
  • Just like Gokulam Kerala men’s team in the recent I-League tournaments (won 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons), Gokulam Kerala women’s have also won two IWL titles in the last two successive seasons (won 2019/20 and 2021/22 seasons).
Gokulam Kerala
Gokulam Kerala men’s team also recently became the 1st team to win two back-to-back I-League titles (Image Credit: Twitter)

So, the Malabarians have now qualified for the 2022 AFC Women’s Club Championship due to winning the IWL 2021/22 trophy.

Kickstart FC Karnataka ended this IWL season as the third-best team of this season with 27 points. Earlier this Thursday, they added three points to their account with a 1-0 win against the Indian Arrows women’s team.    

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