Kerala Blasters FC defeated Mumbai City FC this Wednesday, increasing their chances to be in the top four spots. With just one league game to go, there are still two semis spots up for grabs; as per current standings, Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC have already assured their position in top four.
Now the teams that are still competing for a place in the top 4 are ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters FC, and Mumbai City FC. SportsCafe looks at the different ways in which each of the teams could leave the rest behind.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Currently, Mohun Bagan is sitting in the 3rd spot with 34 points in 18 matches. For them to qualify they only need one point, which they could get in a draw match. Which will put them up with 35 points and could only be overthrown by the Kerala Blasters FC.
Kerala Blasters FC
The Blasters are in the 4th spot with 33 points in 19 matches. They will be facing FC Goa in their next match, and a victory will confirm them a top 4 spot. They can also qualify with a draw. The only thing they need to avoid is a loss to FC Goa.
Mumbai City FC
Mumbai, who is in the 5th spot with 31 points in 19 matches, needs a win against Hyderabad FC, on top of that a Kerala Blasters loss to FC Goa would be exactly what they need.
Now, there’s a very unlikely scenario where all the teams end up with 34 points. And for that to happen ATK Mohun Bagan must lose both their games; Kerala Blasters have to draw against FC Goa and Mumbai City FC has to win against Hyderabad FC.
If this unlikely scenario occurs, the head-to-head record will be taken into consideration. That would offer a conclusive response in normal circumstances. However, with Kerala Blasters FC having a better head-to-head record than Mumbai City FC, the Islanders having defeated the Mariners, and ATKMB having outwitted Kerala Blasters FC, it may not be that straightforward.
In this situation, a mini table will be formed with the head-to-head matchups against each other. Given that each club has played the other twice this season, all the scores will be based on four games.
The Islanders would lose here as well because they have only 4 points from these four games (all four against ATK Mohun Bagan). On the other hand, the Mariners have five points (one against Mumbai City FC and four against Kerala Blasters FC).
Meanwhile, the Tuskers have seven points from four games against the Islanders and Mariners, indicating that if this circumstance arises, they will qualify as the third-placed club and will face the second-placed team in the semi-finals.
However, at this moment this race seems very much on the side of the 3rd and 4th placed teams. And only they could let the top 4 spots slip away from them.
You can never say never in a league as fierce and unpredictable as the Hero ISL. And there won't be much drama until each side has played 20 games.