AFC Women’s Club Championship: Gokulam Kerala get demolished by Urawa Red Diamonds
Gokulam Kerala lost by eight goals
Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies kick started their AFC Women’s Club Championship 2023 campaign in style after defeating Sree Gokulam Kerala FC of India 8-0 on Monday.
Three first half strikes gave Urawa Red Ladies a great start in the match, and despite defensive improvements shown by Gokulam in the second half, were still able to add to their tally as they secured an impressive opening win in Group A.
The Japanese side began brightly and were a goal up inside two minutes when Yu Yajima drove from the right and her cutback was perfect for captain Hanae Shibata to lash home beyond Beatrice Nketia.
Ghanaian Nketia had to be alert as Urawa Red Ladies continued to apply pressure, denying Miki Ito in the 10th minute before stopping Mei Shimada two minutes later.
In the 16th minute, Akari Kurishima reacted quickest to a loose ball just at the edge of the box and her low drive was inch perfect as it settled in the bottom corner for Urawa Reds’ Ladies to double their advantage.
Urawa Red Ladies took a healthy lead into the half-time break as Shimada added to the score in the 38th minute with a powerful shot that gave Nketia no chance.
The weather may have cooled at Chonburi Stadium for the start of the second half but Urawa Red Ladies remained red-hot, Ito struck the crossbar in the 47th minute but got her name on the scoresheet a minute later, heading in Fuka Tsunoda’s pinpoint cross.
Gokulam managed to hold off their opponents for large chunks of the second period but eventually conceded a fifth in the 82nd minute, Ito showing great awareness to arrive at the back post to slot home past Nketia.
It became 6-0 a minute later, as two substitutes combined as Kozue Ando’s pace on the left saw her breezing past the Gokulam defenders before squaring the ball for Hanon Nishio to finish from close range.
Naoki Kusonoke’s side were hungry for more as substitute Kiko Seike’s solo run in the 88th minute produced a seventh with Ando’s stoppage time goal sealing a comprehensive win for Urawa Red Ladies.
They play Bangkok FC next while Gokulam will look to bounce back against Hualien Women’s Football Team, both games to be played on Thursday.
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