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ISL 2016: Kerala Blasters inch closer to semis with victory over Pune City

ANI  |  Kochi (Kerala) [India] 

Blasters took a massive step towards the semi-finals of the ongoing third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) after edging past FC City 2-1 for their fourth consecutive victory at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here last evening.

Having being hammered 0-5 by City FC in their previous match, Blasters returned to winning ways with goals from Duckens Nazon (7th minute) and Aaron Hughes (57th minute).

Anibal Zurdo managed to pull one back for the visitors in the second minute of added time but that came too late for the City.

Blasters coach Steve Coppell made several changes to the team that got clobbered in with marquee player Aaron Hughes back into the squad, alongside Kervens Belfort, Duckens Nazon, and goalkeeper Sandip Nandy. made three changes to their side but, playing at home, started the match on the front foot.

The home team took the lead in the seventh minute itself as Duckens Nazon capitalised on a defensive lapse. A goal-kick by goalkeeper Edel Bete saw Hughes win the ball from a header.

defender D Ravanan then failed to control the ball and Nazon, who was lurking nearby, pounced on the opportunity as he raced clear, set aside the challenge of Gouramangi Singh and fired past the goalkeeper.

tried to fight their way back but were always in control of the proceedings. The pace of Kervens Belfort, Nazon and CK Vineeth was always going to be difficult for City and it was in tune with the proceedings that enhanced their lead in the second session.

A corner in the 57th minute was only partially cleared by City and Vineeth chased it down on the left, sending a cross to the far post. The defence shockingly stood still, allowing Aaron enough time to rush and head home from point blank range.

The goal crippled City, who however managed to pull a goal back in stoppage time. A cleverly taken free kick saw Pitu touch the ball to set up Anibal Zurdo, who blasted it on to the far post, past goalkeeper Sandip Nandy.

The goal, however, came too late and there was no time for City to get anything out of the match.

The victory took Blasters to the third spot with 18 points from 12 matches, the same as Atletico de Kolkata who have a better goal difference. Blasters now need only a win from their remaining two matches to book their place in the last four.

will travel to Kolkata next to play Atletico de Kolkata on November 29 before they will return home to host NorthEast United on December 4.

Meanwhile, City, who lost their second consecutive match, are placed fifth with 15 points from 13 matches and it will be difficult for the team coached by Antonio Habas to qualify with just a match in hand.

Habas will have a week's break before they travel to Kolkata to play against his former club on December 2.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 26 2016. 10:05 IST