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Football

ISL Semifinals: A look at the league's history of Playoffs drama

The final four teams are confirmed and the fans are waiting in anticipation for the semi-finals to begin. Here is a brief look at the history of the ISL playoffs.

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By

Staff Reporter

Published: 9 March 2022 9:16 AM GMT

The Indian Super League (ISL) becomes extremely exciting when the playoffs comes closer. Since the league stage of the 2021-22 campaign ended, the top-four teams that will contest this year's playoffs make for an exciting watch.

Out of the four teams, there are two newcomers. While ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC have qualified before, Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC will be playing in the semifinals for the first time in their short history.

Over the past seven seasons and the current one as well, the fight for the top-four positions has always been intense. There is an added incentive for teams since the inclusion of ISL Shield for the team that finishes on the top of the league table. This intensifies the battle for places and the fans are treated to fabulous football.

The battle for the top four was fierce in the eighth season too. Now that the final four teams are confirmed and the fixtures released, the fans are waiting in anticipation for the semi-finals to begin. While the conversation is revolving around the semis, here is a brief look at the history of the ISL playoffs:

An intense battle for the playoffs

One of the key features in all the past seven seasons of the ISL is the high-octane race to finish in the top-four places. It is a minimum requirement for each club and missing out on one of the places is seen as a failure. The pressure to succeed and gain a playoff qualification is massive on the players and the head coaches.


At one point, there were nine teams in contention for the top-four places before the league stage ended in season eight. The final four teams that qualified were the most consistent performers, thus deserved entrants.

The club that loves a playoff

When it comes to qualifying for the ISL playoffs, FC Goa leads the pack with a big margin. Interestingly, the outfit has never won the ISL trophy and could not make it to the playoffs this year. They have made most semifinal appearances, with six outings. They are followed by Chennaiyin FC, which has four playoff appearances.


The biggest win

Only FC Goa holds the record for scoring five goals in a single fixture of a semifinal. While the ties are played in two-legged formats, it is rare to see one team dominate the other. However, the Gaurs demolished their rivals Mumbai City FC by 5-1 back during the 2018-19 season.

An unwelcome record

Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC secured playoff qualification for the first time in their short careers as mentioned before. That leaves SC East Bengal and Odisha FC to have never made it to the semi-finals. The Kalinga Warriors are a new entity after the owners of the former club Delhi Dynamos FC, which did qualify for the playoffs, decided to shift base to Odisha.

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