It was a moment of magic from Nicolas Anelka that saw Kerala Blasters going down against Mumbai City FC at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai last week.
As the two teams cross swords yet again at the Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium on Wednesday night, Blasters will be eyeing revenge on their home turf but will also be wary of the danger Anelka possess in Mumbai City FC’s attack.
In their away game in Mumbai, Blasters conceded a free-kick just outside their box in the added minutes of first half. Anelka, who stepped up to take the kick, made his first goal in ISL a memorable one with a brilliant free-kick that sailed into the net with Blasters’ goalkeeper Sandip Nandy helplessly watching under the bar.
After serving a three-game ban, Anelka made his ISL debut in the game against Chennaiyin FC and looked out of sorts. But the goal against Blasters seems to have done wonders to French striker’s confidence as he scored in their next game too against Delhi Dynamos and looked quite a threat in their last game against FC Goa which ended in a goalless draw.
Anelka has not only made up for the absence of Freddie Ljungberg but his form has also resulted in Mumbai moving up to fourth spot in points table after a stuttering start. But Mumbai suffered a setback on match eve as their midfielder Andre Moritz was ruled out of Wednesday’s game due to a pulled hamstring.
Blasters are two places below Mumbai in the points table and they have only themselves to blame for the position they find themselves in ISL. They have raided the rival goal area at will in their campaign but finishing has let them down.