Crackers from the edge of the box – becoming a Nishu Kumar trademark?

Bengaluru FC's Nishu Kumar isn't particularly known for his goal scoring prowess, but when the Blues' full-back does manage to get his name on the scoresheet, the occasions are ones to remember, and for good reason. On Thursday, the 22-year-old scored only his second goal in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) with a cracking volley from the edge of the box against Hyderabad FC – a strike which eventually turned out to be the difference between the two sides on the night.

The goal came about from a Dimas Delgado corner, which was let to bounce by the Hyderabad defence and fell to an onrushing Nishu at the edge of the Hyderabad penalty box. The young defender, perhaps, nonchalantly hit it on the up and the ball nestled into the top corner past a helpless Laxmikant Kattimani in the Hyderabad goal as thousands of Bengaluru fans at the Sree Kanteerava held their collective breath.

The stunner gave Bengaluru a much-needed early lead in a tense encounter - one which the defending champions desperately needed to win to keep the pressure on FC Goa and ATK FC in the ongoing three-way battle to finish at the summit of the league table. With this season's league toppers set to feature in the AFC Champions League, every point at this stage will be crucial and Nishu's strike- which eventually turned out to be the winner - may very well play a big part in how the narrative plays out by the end of the season.

The goal immediately caught the attention of football fans all around, who took to social media to laud the stunning strike.

Having opened his goals account for Hero ISL 2019-20, the player himself was pleased with the strike and in an exclusive post-match interview with indiansuperleague.com, said, “I was trying to score from the beginning of the season, and finally I got a chance to so I'm very happy and this is my second goal so I'm very happy.”

Staying on topic, Nishu’s maiden goal in the Hero ISL came in the 2018-19 season, when he scored against Jamshedpur FC in Match number 9 of the campaign. What’s interesting, however, is the uncanny similarity between his latest strike and the first. Like the goal against Hyderabad, a set-piece got the ball rolling with a Xisco Hernandez free kick from the deep being headed clear by Tiri. The Jamshedpur man, however, didn’t get enough distance on his clearance and Nishu, once again, was prowling at the edge of the area. This time, the young defender chested the ball down to make space for a shot and volleyed it in from distance past Subhasish Roy to score the first goal in what turned out to be a 2-2 draw.

If one could file a patent for scoring cracking volleys from the edge of the box in the Hero ISL, Nishu could have started filling up the paperwork already. But till then, the Bengaluru defender will have to make do with a nomination for the Fans’ Goal of the Week. Nishu’s belter, along with four other stunning strikes, is vying for the honour this Gameweek. You can go ahead and cast your votes here.

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