Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Can Owen Coyle replicate his 2019 heroics with Chennaiyin FC?

Chennaiyin FC have control over their playoff destiny, needing wins in their remaining two games to secure a spot.

Can Owen Coyle replicate his 2019 heroics with Chennaiyin FC?

Chennaiyin FC made a return back to playoffs after 4 years. (Photo credit: ISL)


John Mathew

Published: 7 April 2024 1:52 PM GMT

Ten games remain in the league phase of the 10th season of the Indian Super League (ISL) and yet there is no team with a clear edge to win the title. We also do not know who the six teams would be to make it to the playoffs.

With five having already confirmed qualification, four teams remain in the fight for the one remaining play-off spot. Here are their chances and permutations which would get them into the knock-out phase of the tournament.

Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC have it all in their control. Owen Coyle's is comfortably placed to be in the play-offs courtesy of their recent upturn in form where they won 3 in 4 games. That is almost 38 per cent of their entire points tally coming in the final stretch of the season.

By beating Shield contenders Odisha and Mohun Bagan (with an ironic loss to Hyderabad FC sandwiched in between), the Marina Machans have not only leapt above the rest in the race for play-offs but also played their subtle roles in the title race that is to come. Chennai sit on 24 points from 20 games with a Goal Difference (GD) of eight.

Their situation is simple: Win. Win the remaining two games in hand and walk into the final lavishly. Currently placed sixth, Chennaiyin could even finish up to 5th if the Blasters fail to beat Hyderabad while Chennai grab their full six points.

Although if they fail to do so, and end up only winning a game; then they would need to depend on other results as well. With their two opponents being NorthEast United and FC Goa; beating NorthEast is almost a do-or-die situation.

If Chennai were to lose that game, not only would they get pipped by at least a point but also be lost out on head-to-head which could be crucial.

Beating NorthEast alone won't guarantee them qualification either. They would need Bengaluru and East Bengal to drop at least a point to get through outright. They'd much more need East Bengal to drop off as they do hold the H2H advantage over Bengaluru FC. If Chennai suffer a loss against NorthEast, then they'd need to beat Goa and hope NorthEast drop points in their second game. Beating NorthEast is their shortcut to the playoffs.

If Chennai were to draw both games against NorthEast and Goa respectively; then they'd have to wait for NorthEast's defeat against Odisha, and Bengaluru, at least, to draw one of their games (since Chennai hold the H2H advantage) and East Bengal to do the same.

In the event of Chennai losing both games, they should be expected out of contention as NorthEast would then gain ascendancy.

NorthEast United

Since it is a case of direct competition, NorthEast too can be said to have most of it in their own hands. With games against Chennai and Odisha looming around, they'd have to prioritize beating Chennai at all costs. A win against Chennai would put them on 26 points and an outright H2H advantage against Coyle's men.

Couple that with at least a draw against Odisha and NorthEast would finish ahead of Chennai guaranteed. If Bengaluru dropped any points, they'd be out of the race and the same runs for East Bengal. 4 points, with 3 coming from a win against Chennai would do it for NE; given that Bengaluru and East Bengal drop at least a point each.

In a situation of 2 draws for NorthEast, they'd need Chennai to taste defeat against Goa, Bengaluru to not win any and East Bengal should not win any one of their games. If 1 draw is all NorthEast could muster up, they'd hope that draw is against Chennai and that Chennai fails to beat Goa. They'd also need Bengaluru to not win either nor draw both as they'd finish level on points on H2H. If East Bengal to drop points in both because if they end level on points, East Bengal would go through on H2H records.

Bengaluru FC

If the last year's finalists are to make it through to the playoffs they'd need massive results. Sitting on 22 points from 20 games, Bengaluru would need to rely on other teams' results while not also compromising on their own to make it past the cut-off.

If Bengaluru were to win both of their games against both the Kolkata giants, they'd be on the maximum they can attain from now (i.e. 28 points). That could take them up to 6th given, Chennaiyin, and NorthEast drop points in any of their games respectively. It'd also mean the realistic end for EB's play-off hopes as their then attainable total would be limited to 24 points.

If Zaragoza's men end with a win and a draw, then they'd need Chennaiyin to get only up to a maximum of 1 point from their 2 games, NorthEast to get less than 3 points from their games as if they finish level on points, it would go to GD throughout the season as H2H is dead-even. They'd also require East Bengal to drop points in at least one game to cancel out their chances of being a threat. If all BFC can manage are draws, it'd not be enough as even in the odd possibility that Chennai fails to get at least a point; the Blues of Tamil Nadu would hold the edge on H2H record.

East Bengal FC

For Cuadrat's men, it is pretty simple. If Chennaiyin were the favourites since it's all in their hands, East Bengal is at the other end. If East Bengal are to win both of their games and reach 27 points; they'd still need Chennai to lose at least a game or be winless in both (since EB hold H2H advantage, level points favour them). They'd also need NorthEast to drop points in one game at least (again, EB hold H2H advantage) and Bengaluru would be out considering their loss against East Bengal would limit their maximum at 25.

If EB were to suffice with a win and a draw, they'd hope the win is against Bengaluru as only that would make the H2H record potentially in favour of East Bengal (given they win by a margin of more than 1 goal). They'd also require NorthEast to be at least winless in their 2 games (EB H2H advantage) and Chennai to not get more than 1 point from their 2 games (EB H2H advantage).

If all EB gets is one win, they'd need that to be against Bengaluru because losing that game puts Bengaluru at 25 points while EB would be capped at 24 at maximum. Avoiding a loss against Bengaluru is paramount for their chances already diminutive chances at the play-off spots.

Next Story