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ISL: Subrata Paul stands tall as Mumbai hold Kerala Blasters

Kerala Blasters couldn't cash in on home advantage as Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Subrata Paul came up with some good saves as the teams played out a goalless draw in their Indian Super League match on Wednesday

Kochi: Kerala Blaster FC and Mumbai City FC cancelled each other's goal-scoring threat out to settle for 0-0 draw in an Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Wednesday.

The point obtained after the stalemate though kept both teams at their previous positions in the standings with hosts Kerala down at the sixth spot, managing nine points from eight matches. Mumbai drew level on 11 points with third-placed FC Pune City but remained below them on inferior goal difference.

The first half ended goalless with both team's showing willingness to go forward but chances created were few and far between.

Both teams were keen to keep possession and wary of getting exposed by a swift opposing counter attack.

With support of home crowd, Blasters should have logged home full points but India's premier goalkeeper Subrata Paul, who is one of the highest paid Indian players in league, came up with some good saves to help the visitors leave with a point.

Paul, pulled off three saves for the 'Blue Brigade' including one in the eighth minute which was out of the top
drawer. 

The match was into its eighth minute, when Kerala's Milagres Gonsalves, who got the ball on the wide left and essayed a cross for Nigerian Penn Orji. The former East Bengal playmaker headed it on bounce which Paul dived full length to block it. From the rebound, Cedric Hengbart made another attempt which was again parried away by Paul. 

In the 65th minute, Sabeeth kept a measured centre from the left side of the penalty box and Paul showed great
anticipation as he tipped it over an emerging Milagres. 

Paul's final save came during the dying moments of the match when he again dived full-stretched to deny Raphael Romey from heading it in after Stephen Pearson had delivered an accurate cross.

After the breather, both teams went for the win with coaches summoning attacking players to the pitch.

And Paul remained Mumbai's saviour as he continued to thwart Kerala with his superb athleticism and judgement.

Nicholas Anelka was not in his element today although he essayed defence splitting pass in the 50th minute but Kerala captain and custodian David James averted the danger with a clearance.

The closest Mumbai came to scoring was in the 77th minute when Anelka's cross was cleared by left-back Saumik Dey outside the 6-yard box. Tiago's first-time shot came off the right vertical. 

That pretty much summed up the proceedings of the match.

Kerala take on Delhi Dynamos away Nov 16 while Mumbai entertain FC Goa Nov 17 in their next fixture.

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