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Priyanka’s brace guides Mumbai Knights to win in title clash

An exhilarating final where both finalists showed plenty of grit and determination only for the debutants to claim the title against the defending champions Star striker Priyanka Sujeesh was up to the occasion as her quick-fire double strike late in the game helped Mumbai Knights to claim the WIFA Women’s league title in their maiden campaign. In what was an enthralling final, it was PIFA who started out brightly as the league’s top scorer Sasmita Behera was turning out to be a handful for the Knights’ defense. Early on in just the 2nd minute, Sasmita struck a looping shot from outside the box that was dipping goalward just at the right time. Knights keeper Babita was alert on it as she managed to push the ball onto the post. The rebound fell for an onrushing Iawang whose shot from a tight angle went wide. The early proceeding had PIFA in control as Sasmita had another shot from a distance that went straight to the keeper’s hand, while a freekick from Payal went just over the bar. At the other end, the Knights had a golden chance to take the lead after some amazing set of passing. After winning the ball in midfield a defensive splitting pass from Abeer to find Mmehak whose first-time cross found Priyanka with an open net to finish only for the latter to blaze it over the bar. Knights were growing into the game but were profligate in attack, as another close chance was squandered after a cross from Velanie into the box found Priyanka who once again sent it wide from close range. Soon after Velanie had her a freekick from 30 yards out tipped over the bar by PIFA keeper Afshan. Once again in the second half, PIFA started out brightly, coming close to scoring in the very first minute when Karen Pais made a solo run before striking a curling shot that came off the edge of the bar. The game move along with some end to end action as both looked for the opening goal, however, neither managed to get clear cut chances as the defense stood for on either side. It took a defensive blunder to finally break the deadlock. In the 82nd minute, Priyanka beat her marker to strike a powerful shot from the edge of the box, PIFA keeper Afshan had her angles covered, however, she misjudged the power of the ball as it slipped past her hands to nestle into the net much to the delight of Knights. Two minutes later, another error of judgment allowed the Knights to make it 2-0. Afshan came off her line to collect the ball at the edge of the box however Priyanka reached there first to lift the ball over the keeper into an empty net. The two goals broke the morale of PIFA as the game soon trudged to a 2-0 end. The win allowed the Knights to finish the competition two points ahead of the PIFA lifting their maiden WIFA Women’s league title FT: PIFA 0 – 2 Mumbai Knights (Priyanka 82′, 84′) Earlier in the day, Kenkre defeated the Warriors of the Kolhapur by a close 1-0 margin o end the campaign on a high. After a goalless first half,  substitute Kavya Jaiswal’s struck past Kolhapur’s keeper to break the deadlock. Both sides were profligate in attack as despite the chances created, goals were hard to come around. The game ended at 3-0 with Kenkre finishing 3rd in the league FT: Warriors of Kolhapur 0 – 1 Kenkre FC (Kavya Jaiswal 60′)