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ISL 2020-21: 5 February fixtures you just cannot miss

ISL 2020-21: 5 February fixtures you just cannot miss
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By

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 6 Feb 2021 6:25 AM GMT

With the Indian Super League (ISL) now into its final leg, the month of February promises a lot of drama, heart-break and action-packed matches. The teams that are currently in the top half of the table will try to push on for that coveted playoff spot while those at the bottom will be playing for pride. Either way, there are lots of twists and turns still left and here are the five fixtures which promise that in abundance-

Hyderabad FC vs NorthEast United - 7th February

It all kickstarts tomorrow when the Nizams square off against the Highlanders in an extremely crucial clash in the context of the playoff spots. Both the sides are currently tied on 22 points with Manolo Marquez’s side ahead on goal difference. However, if Khalid Jamil’s men can come out of this one unscathed and with all three points, the pressure will fall back on Hyderabad to take as many points as possible from their last four games. On the other hand, if Hyderabad win, they might just gather enough momentum to eventually go out of sight of those behind them.

https://twitter.com/HydFCOfficial/status/1357925815543975944

Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa - 8th February

The table-toppers face a confident Goa side on Monday for what should be a blockbuster clash. Both the sides like playing attacking football with the ball at their feet which should augur well for the neutrals. Although the Gaurs are 11 points behind Sergio Lobera’s men with just five matches to go, a victory for them would delight ATK Mohun Bagan and open the window for them to overtake Mumbai City. However, if they lose, it might land them in a tricky position with Hyderabad, NorthEast, Bengaluru and even Jamshedpur FC breathing down their necks.

ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal - 19th February

Of course, the derby. While this match might not have a huge impact on the points table, a Kolkata derby is always a showpiece event, whatever the context. Moreover, Robbie Fowler’s men will be expected to put on a better show than what they did last time around and will be looking to give their fans some joy. For the Mariners though, this might turn out to be a must win fixture for their top spot hopes to stay intact. Out of the many sub-plots to this game, the biggest one will probably be the battle between Roy Krishna and Bright Enobakhare. This is one game you do not want to miss.

https://twitter.com/atkmohunbaganfc/status/1332218955411333120

Kerala Blasters vs Chennaiyin FC - 21st February

The much vaunted Southern derby will most possibly be reduced to a battle for lost pride this season. Both the sides have been extremely inconsistent so far and rightly find themselves at 9th and 8th respectively. Be that as it may, the pressure of a derby means the players will have to turn up for this one and give a good account of themselves. For both coaches, this will be a huge test of whether they can motivate their teams enough after a long, tiring season of disappointments. Based on recent form however, Chennaiyin should have the edge although much can happen between now and the 21st.

Mumbai City FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan - 28th February

Finally, probably the most important match of all takes place on the last matchday of the league stage. While it seemed at one point that this game might have been scheduled a little too late and that Mumbai will have run away with the top spot before then, their defeat against NorthEast and up-and-down recent form has put things back into perspective. If they drop further points from hereon and Antonio Habas’ boys don’t, then this might just end up as the decider for the numero uno position. For context, ATK Mohun Bagan are six points behind Mumbai City but have played a match less.

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