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ISL: How does the playoffs race look so far?

It's all happening in the Indian Super League and its race to reach the playoffs.

ISL: How does the playoffs race look so far?

Naorem Roshan Singh (Source: Bengaluru FC)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 23 Jan 2023 11:45 AM GMT

It was a week of some decisive wins that will play a huge role come February when the Shield and playoff places start getting official. Mumbai City FC, incredibly, kept up their unparalleled dominance for yet another week, putting NorthEast United FC 3-0 down inside the opening 20 minutes.

Hyderabad FC managed to keep pace with them, while Bengaluru FC and FC Goa dealt strong blows to Chennaiyin FC's playoff aspirations. Just 3 points separate 3rd place Kerala Blasters FC and 6th placed Odisha FC, while Bengaluru FC, 3 points adrift and Chennaiyin FC 2 points behind them, with 6 match weeks to go.

Hyderabad FC give themselves one last bite at Mumbai City FC
In Matchweek 15, Mumbai City FC became the first Hero ISL side to confirm their playoff qualification this season. This time around, it was business as usual for the Islanders as they swept NorthEast United FC aside with a 4-0 rout.
The win saw the Islanders extend their unbeaten streak to a record-equalling 15 games. Only ATK Mohun Bagan and FC Goa have reached this milestone before, and it could be just one of many new records Mumbai City FC could break in Matchweek 17 - on their radar is FC Goa's league stage record of 46 goals, from which the Islanders are only a goal behind now.
They will be desperate to get another win when they play Jamshedpur FC in the coming week, as Hyderabad FC put up a characteristically professional display to beat East Bengal FC 2-0 and keep their four-point distance from the Islanders intact.
They now have two weeks to prepare for what could be the biggest fixture in the Shield race - Mumbai City FC away on February 4. Anything other than a win could let the Mumbai City FC extend their lead at the top.
Bengaluru FC throw their name into the hat, Chennaiyin FC have another what-if week
Bengaluru FC eased past Jamshedpur FC 3-0 and made it three wins in a row for the first time this season to establish themselves as the frontrunners among the teams just outside the playoffs zone.
With Roy Krishna finding his scoring touch and a confident midfield showing great resolve, the Blues look close to being at their best when it most matters. Chennaiyin FC, will be their next opponents - and ones who will be disappointed that they're having to play catch-up.
For the third week in a row, Chennaiyin FC were held to a draw, this time by ATK Mohun Bagan. Since their famous 7-3 win against NorthEast United FC in December, Chennaiyin FC haven't managed to win a single one of their five games and the only positive heading into next week for them is the game they have in hand over Bengaluru FC.
A win will do wonders to their confidence and keep them in the playoff race.
The Gaurs end their four-game winless streak at a crucial stage, Blasters rattled again
After drawing two and losing two of their last four Hero ISL games, FC Goa registered a commanding 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters FC in the last match of Matchweek 16 to go above Odisha FC in the playoffs running.
In what was their 150th home game in the Hero ISL, FC Goa put an end to a frustrating set of results that has drawn a lot of pressure from teams like Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, who are close behind.
In third place, Kerala Blasters fell to their second substantial defeat in a row, having just come out of a break after their humbling at the hands of Mumbai City FC in Matchweek 14. They are now looking over their shoulders as ATKMB, FC Goa, and Odisha FC could all be eyeing their spot.
Matchweek 17 - The week before the business end
FC Goa will get the ball rolling against East Bengal FC on Thursday before Jamshedpur FC host Mumbai City FC, with the Islanders looking to set a new unbeaten streak record in the Hero ISL on Friday.
The double-header on Saturday will feature a high-octane clash between Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, with the winner gaining a massive advantage in the playoff race, followed by another enthralling encounter between ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC. Matchweek 17 will conclude in Kochi where Kerala Blasters will take on NorthEast United FC.
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