In a disappointing turn of events, Mumbai Knights FC experienced their first defeat in the Indian Women’s League 2023, succumbing to a 4-2 loss against East Bengal FC. The match marked a significant setback for Mumbai Knights, who had previously secured a 0-0 draw, while East Bengal FC emerged victorious with a 2-0 win in their preceding game.
Head coach Rutuja implemented a few changes to the lineup and formation, opting for a defensive setup with a backline comprising Pranita, Ritu, Afreen, Nidhi, and VK Srutilakshmi. Nidhi replaced Mansi in the starting XI, while Kashmira retained her position as the goalkeeper. In midfield, Velanie and Karen provided support behind the attacking trio of Bhumika, Priyanka, and Karishma.
East Bengal FC seized control of the game during the first half, displaying their dominance by scoring three goals. Rimpa Halder initiated the scoring around the half-hour mark, followed by Tulsi Hembram’s goal in the 37th minute. Mousumi Murmu extended the lead to 3-0 in the 43rd minute, leaving Mumbai Knights with the daunting task of staging a comeback. In an attempt to regain equilibrium, Rutuja made substitutions, bringing on Namrata Thakur in the 41st minute for VK Srutilakshmi and replacing Velanie Fernandes with Sushmita Jadhav in the 54th minute.
Despite Mumbai Knights’ efforts, Rimpa Halder added to East Bengal FC’s lead by securing her second goal of the match in the 55th minute, making it 4-0 in favor of East Bengal FC. Priyanka managed to salvage a goal for Mumbai Knights in the 65th minute, registering her second goal of the tournament. The deficit was further reduced when Namrata found the back of the net in the 83rd minute.
With this loss, East Bengal FC not only secured all three points but also overtook Mumbai Knights FC to claim the second position in Group A. Mumbai Knights now have a day to reflect on their performance before aiming to bounce back on Saturday when they face Sports Odisha.
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