One of the most exciting season ever: It’s a fight to the finish as clubs search for the extra mile in ISL 2023-24

Mumbai City FC within touching distance of League Shield as rivals close in

Chennaiyin, NorthEast United, and East Bengal locked in final sprint for playoffs

The Indian Super League (ISL) Shield race has produced peak entertainment and excitement heading into the final week of the league campaign. Mumbai City FC sits at the pole position to defend their title with 44 points from 20 games, but Mohun Bagan Super Giant (42) along with Odisha FC (39) and FC Goa (39) are not far-off from displacing the Islanders from the first place in the table either, making it a four-way race for the ultimate honour of the top-tier of Indian football. Here’s what the four teams need to do to clinch the first-place finish and also get into the top-two, guaranteeing them a semi-final berth.

Mumbai City FC, Pos: 1, Pl: 20, Pts: 44

Fixtures Remaining: Odisha FC (H), Mohun Bagan Super Giant (A)

With Odisha FC (42) and Mohun Bagan Super Giant (39) breathing down their neck, and Mumbai City FC facing them in their last two games, the Islanders won’t have a guaranteed top-six place even if they beat Odisha FC at home. However, a draw against Odisha FC will secure them a top-two finish, thus guaranteeing them a semi-final appearance.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Pos: 2, Pl: 20, Pts: 42

Fixtures Remaining: Bengaluru FC (A), Mumbai City FC (H)

Mohun Bagan Super Giant need to keep their chase intact, and for that they first face the misfiring Bengaluru FC with the Blues out of the playoff hunt. The recent defeat to Chennaiyin FC didn’t bide well for the chances of the Mariners and created a scenario such that their title fate would only be sealed in the final day of the league season on April 15. Regardless of that, they can book a semi-final berth by bagging four points out of their remaining two matches.

Odisha FC, Pos: 3, Pl: 20, Pts: 39

Fixtures Remaining: Mumbai City FC (A), NorthEast United FC (A)

Odisha FC’s bid for the League Shield will fall with a loss to Mumbai City FC. However, victories in their rest two matches, along with Mohun Bagan Super Giant dropping four points from hereon can see them get in the race of the top-placed finish.

For the first two spots, the Juggernauts need to emerge victorious in their last two matches, and hope that the Islanders don’t win against the Mariners, in addition to the Mohun Bagan Super Giant finishing below 46 points in the season. They also need FC Goa to drop points for the same.

FC Goa. Pos: 4, Pl: 20, Pts: 39

Fixtures Remaining: Jamshedpur FC (A), Chennaiyin FC (H)

For FC Goa to win the League Shield, they will have to win their last two games and hope that Mumbai City FC loses both its games, in addition to the Mohun Bagan Super Giant falling short of a victory against Bengaluru FC. The Gaurs have an arguably more realistic chance of finishing in the top-two, as six points in their next games coupled with the Islanders beating the Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Odisha FC will see them cap off the league campaign with a definite place in the semis.

Kerala Blasters FC, Pos: 5, Pl: 21, Pts: 30

Fixtures Remaining: Hyderabad FC (A)

Kerala Blasters FC cannot win the League Shield and neither can they end the league in the top-two. However, they are comfortably into the playoffs and will have to battle it out with their prospective opponents for a place in the final four

One Spot, Three Contenders – A playoffs hunt like never before

The sixth place for the playoffs is seeing a closely-fought race and it’s a three-way battle for that coveted position in the points table. The last week or so has seen Punjab FC, Bengaluru FC, and Jamshedpur FC crash out of the contest, but the likes of East Bengal FC, Chennaiyin FC, and NorthEast United FC remain firmly in the fray with decisive victories that see them hovering around the top-six despite setbacks at different phases of the current campaign. Chennaiyin FC are set to meet NorthEast United FC in one of their remaining two fixtures, and there’s a massive lot to play for here for all three teams, especially since East Bengal FC beat Bengaluru FC by 2-1 last night.

East Bengal FC, Pos: 6, Pl: 21, Pts: 24

Fixtures Remaining: Punjab FC (A)

East Bengal FC has to win their last match of the league season against Punjab FC, and hope that Chennaiyin FC drops three points in the remaining two games of the Marina Machans. The Red & Gold Brigade also needs NorthEast United FC to lose points at least once in their rest of the two matches to seal a place in the top-six.

Chennaiyin FC, Pos: 7, Pl: 20, Pts: 24

Fixtures Remaining: NorthEast United FC (H), FC Goa (A)

Chennaiyin FC will qualify for the playoffs by bagging four points from the last two games of the Marina Machans. They can even finish fifth if they win their last two matches and Kerala Blasters FC loses their last match to Hyderabad FC.

NorthEast United FC, Pos: 8, Pl: 20, Pts: 23

Fixtures Remaining: Chennaiyin FC (A), Odisha FC (H)

NorthEast United FC needs to win their last two games to make it to the playoffs. Firstly, they need to get the better of Chennaiyin FC in their coming fixture, which will have a massive impact on the chances of all three teams in the contention for the sixth spot, i.e. East Bengal FC, the Marina Machans, and the Highlanders.

Points Table.

Courtesy :- ISL Media.

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