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ISL: Nicolas Anelka strikes as Mumbai FC beat Kerela

Mumbai City FC striker’s superb free-kick gives hosts full points against Kerala Blasters FC

A sublime free-kick from Nicolas Anelka against Kerala Blasters FC brought Mumbai City FC's dithering Indian Super League (ISL) campaign back on track at Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium yesterday.

Power-packed: Mumbai City FC's Nicolas Anelka unleashes a shot during yesterday's Hero Indian Super League match against Kerala Blasters FC at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Pic/ SURESH KK
Power-packed: Mumbai City FC's Nicolas Anelka unleashes a shot during yesterday's Hero Indian Super League match against Kerala Blasters FC at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Pic/ SURESH KK  

The Mumbai franchise were languishing in last place in the ISL standings before yesterday's game, but rose to fifth, having amassed six points from five matches.

Frenchman Anelka, playing only his second ISL match, curled his free-kick over the Kerala wall and into the net in the 44th minute after Ishfaq Ahmed fouled Jan Stohanzl just outside the box.

Kerala custodian Sandip Nandy, who started in place of marquee man David James, could only dive in vain as the ball sneaked into the near side of the goal to give Mumbai a deserved 1-0 lead just before half-time.

Mumbai had several chances to double their lead in the second half but an assured performance from Nandy under the bar, apart from some wasteful finishing from the Mumbai forwardline kept the score at 1-0.

The hosts' best chance came in the 74th minute when Anelka dashed down the right flank to put in a great cross for Singam Subash Singh, whose shot flew over the bar.

The Frenchman was again in the thick of the action 13 minutes later when his powerful strike was parried away by Nandy. The resulting deflection saw the ball fall to Andre Moritz's feet but the Brazilian's shot was off the target.

A minute later, Nandy was again called into action by Anelka's crisp shot on goal. Mumbai next play hosts to Delhi Dynamos on Wednesday while Kerala host FC Goa on Thursday.

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