Another week has passed by in the Indian Super League (ISL) and the jostling for the top four places continues to be hugely intriguing. Table-toppers Mumbai City faltered against NorthEast United recently, resulting in what was only their second defeat of the season so far. That means ATK Mohun Bagan are still six points behind Sergio Lobera’s men but with a match in hand. The Mariners themselves came back brilliantly from two goals down to eventually win 3-2 against Kerala Blasters. That, and the addition of Lenny Rodrigues and Marcelinho should spur them on in the next few games, especially with the derby looming large as well.
FC Goa and Hyderabad FC still occupy the third and fourth spots respectively. However, both of them are ahead of NorthEast only on goal difference with the Islanders looking increasingly dangerous under Khalid Jamil. They are unbeaten in five games following last night’s 2-2 draw against the Gaurs and in fact, face Hyderabad next. Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC also have a chance to make a late entry into the playoff spots, However, for that to happen, they cannot afford to drop more points in the coming few games, especially the Blues who play Chennaiyin FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City next.
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Further down the table, Chennaiyin, Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal are still stunted by the same inconsistency that has characterized their entire season. The Marina Machans have garnered five points from the last 15 available which included a couple of morale-sapping defeats. Head coach Csaba Laszlo has since taken his players to task after their abysmal capitulation against Hyderabad FC, but he still has to find a solution with matches against Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and Goa coming up.
Elsewhere, the Tuskers and the Red and Golds have flattered to deceive throughout the campaign and still find themselves at the foot of the table after another string of unfavourable results. To make it worse for the Kolkata side, Robbie Fowler has been banned for the next four games following his verbal attack against referees. Given the current situation, both these sides as well as Chennaiyin need to go on damage-control mode and ensure that they end the season with lifted spirits. For Odisha FC, the same holds true following Stuart Baxter’s ignominious departure earlier in the week.