AHMEDABAD, MAY 9: Mumbai Knights suffered a 2-0 loss against HOPS FC in the Group A match held on Tuesday, 9th May 2023 at the Shahibaug Police Ground in Ahmedabad. This was only their second loss in six games of the Hero IWL.
A first half goal from Neha and a second half stoppage time goal from Rajni Bala sealed all three points for HOPS FC. Mumbai Knights slipped to fourth in the table as a result of this defeat and will have everything to do in their final group game against Gokulam Kerala FC.
Mumbai Knights FC started with Babitha in goal. A back four of Mansi, Afreen, Ritu and Nidhi. With Karen and Riya in midfield, Bhumika, Priyanka, Karishma and Janhavi formed the attacking quartet. Both teams were well aware that three points from this match could set them up in the driver’s spot for qualification to the next stage. But it was HOPS FC who made their chance count as Neha scored past the Mumbai Knights keeper to give a 1-0 lead to HOPS FC.
Mumbai Knights FC found it difficult to construct passes as HOPS FC intercepted their passes. The HOPS defence was able to clear and thwart any attacking threat from Mumbai Knights as their attackers found it difficult to score. The game progressed at a brisk pace and HOPS kept their lead for entirety of the match. The second goal came in the first minute of second half stoppage time when substitute Rajni Bala who had just come on three minutes ago slotted home to make it 2-0.
HOPS FC 2-0 win took them to second in Group A, four points behind the defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC who sit top of Group A with 16 points. Gokulam Kerala FC’ s qualification to the knockout rounds is all but confirmed, scoring 42 goals in the process and conceding just four. Sports Odisha’s 2-1 win over East Bengal FC took them to third in the table, tied on points (12) with HOPS FC.
The last round of fixtures in Group A could once again change the face of the table as the other three spots in Group A are still open. Mumbai Knight face Gokulam Kerala FC in what will be a must win game for them in case other results don’t go in their favour. East Bengal FC face HOPS FC, Sports Odisha FC collide against Misaka United. 5 teams still vying for the three spots that will help them qualify for the knockouts is box-office final match day in the making.
Can Mumbai Knights get the better of the defending champions? Will Mumbai Knights make it to the knockouts?