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Anji off the mark with Tromsø success

FC Anji Makhachkala 1-0 Tromsø IL
Nikita Burmistrov's 19th-minute effort steered the Russian outfit to their first victory in UEFA Europa League Group K.

Nikita Burmistrov shows his delight after scoring Anji's winner
Nikita Burmistrov shows his delight after scoring Anji's winner ©AFP

FC Anji Makhachkala registered their first three points in UEFA Europa League Group K by edging Tromsø IL 1-0.

Goalless in their opening two fixtures, the hosts broke their duck after 19 minutes courtesy of Nikita Burmistrov. His strike would prove decisive, too, as Tromsø – bottom of the section with one point – struggled to create enough chances to salvage a draw.

Having gone 17 games in all competitions without success, Gadzhi Gadzhiev's youthful side could have been forgiven a hint of trepidation. There was not a glimmer, however, as they constructed an early wave of intelligent moves. Burmistrov was the beneficiary, taking receipt of Odil Ahmedov's incisive through ball and finishing unerringly beyond Benny Lekström.

The visitors struggled for rhythm throughout but were almost gifted a way back into the match when Benoît Angbwa conceded possession on the edge of the area and Thomas Bendiksen hit a post with a sweetly struck shot. There was no let-up at the other end, meanwhile, goalkeeper Lekström reacting quickly to tip Ahmedov's deflected free-kick over before Angbwa rattled the woodwork.

The same player came inside onto his left foot and fired narrowly beyond a post as Anji continued to assert their authority after the interval. Midfielder Abdul Razak then concluded a mazy run by slashing wide, yet the second goal they craved was not forthcoming.