With most teams having just four games left in the league stages of this season’s Indian Super League (ISL), we are in for an intriguing last few rounds of matches. Mumbai City are still top but their seemingly unassailable lead has now been cut to a solitary point following a couple of draws and a defeat in the last four games. ATK Mohun Bagan on the other hand look like a team that is determined to not make any more mistakes as they look to overtake the Islanders.
Mumbai’s next three fixtures are against Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and Odisha, which will be followed by the big showdown against the Mariners. Similarly, Antonio Habas’ side take on Jamshedpur, SC East Bengal and Hyderabad next in what is a slightly trickier fixture list on paper. Below the top two, FC Goa’s form seems to be taking a turn for the worse. The Gaurs have drawn each of their last five games and face Chennaiyin and Odisha in the coming week. Juan Ferrando will be hoping that his side can take full points from these two clashes before Bengaluru FC come calling. Similarly, Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United, who are both on equal points as the Gaurs, will be looking to displace them. However, it will be slightly more difficult for the Nizams since they have matches against a resurgent SC East Bengal, ATK Mohun Bagan and Goa still left.
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The mid-table sides at the moment who still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semis are Jamshedpur, Bengaluru and Chennaiyin. All of them have been inconsistent throughout the season which has stalled their top 4 bid. But with those above them still to play against each other, one can never be absolutely sure. The same is true for Robbie Fowler’s men who finally registered their third victory of the season against Jamshedpur FC but still have a mountain to climb. They are joined at the hip with Kerala Blasters, the equation for whom is all the more difficult because they just can’t seem to close matches even after a strong start. The Tuskers haven’t won in their last five games and only a miracle could turn their season around from here on.
Last but not the least, Odisha FC, under interim head coach Gerry Peyton, are showing signs of being party-poopers for a few others. They managed a hard-fought draw against Kibu Vicuna’s Kerala in their last game and line up against NorthEast United next. Moreover, matches against Goa, Mumbai and East Bengal after that provide scope for some interesting upsets and further twists in the points’ table.