Women's Football
Gokulam Kerala look to end AFC Women's Club C'ship campaign on a high
12 Nov 2021

AIFF Media Team

AQABA, JORDAN: Uzbekistan’s FC Bunyodkor and Sree Gokulam Kerala of India will be aiming to sign off their AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 campaign in style when they clash at the Aqaba Development Corporate Stadium, Jordan on Saturday.

Both teams are out of title contention, with Bunyodkor having three points while Gokulam Kerala have yet to register a point.

Bunyodkor suffered a setback on Matchday One when they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Shahrdari Sirjan of Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Shahrdari Sirjan scored in either half through Roghayeh Jalal Nasab and Zahra Alizadeh, before Dildora Nozimova hit a late consolation from the penalty spot.

Despite losing star player Lyudmila Karachik to injury for the remainder of their campaign, Bunyodkor came out fighting against Jordan's Amman Club with a Nozimova penalty in the final minute of the game clinching them victory.

However, with Shahrdari Sirjan on six points and having a superior head-to-head record, Bunyodkor have no chance of winning the title even if they beat Gokulam Kerala on Saturday.

Bunyodkor head coach Elmira Gulamova, however, wants her team to end on a high against the Indian Women's League champions and will be relying on forwards Aziza Norboeva and Ergasheva Nozimakhon to see them through.

“The mental and physical condition of the team today is excellent," said Gulamova. “We arranged a trip by the sea for the team yesterday as an emotional exercise. Everyone is ready to win the last game of the tournament."

"We’ve been telling the players that we always have to show our best. In addition to participating in the domestic league, we have been preparing for this very competition game by game.

“Gokulam Kerala is a fast-paced team that relies a lot on team play. The team understands each other very well. They are also good in defending as well as in attack. We have to play stronger than ever to beat this team.”

Gokulam Kerala started positively in their opener against Amman Club, taking a 1-0 lead at half-time through Elshaddai Acheampong’s fine strike. However, Amman Club came back fighting in the second half, netting goals from Maysa Jbarah and Samia Ouni to seal the three points.

Gokulam Kerala held their own against Shahrdari Sirjan on Matchday Two, but disaster struck in the 65th minute when goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan received her marching orders after bringing down Zahra Alizadeh just above the area.

The balance then shifted in Shahrdari Sirjan's favour as they scored the winning goal through an Afsaneh Chatrenoor free-kick. 

Except for the suspended Chauhan, head coach Priya PV will be fielding her best side and is eyeing nothing less than victory against the Uzbekistan champions.

“The players are a bit disappointed after the match,” said Priya. “We have a good squad but luck didn't favour us. We could have won both the matches had we not committed silly mistakes. The players want to win the final match and they are determined about that."

“Bunyodkor are an excellent team in every department, they have good players. I think they have played beautifully so far and they have a good attacking game.

“We need to convert our chances in the final third. That needs to be improved and we need to score more goals.”

(Courtesy: AFC Media Team)

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