Just like the previous few seasons, the I-League campaign is once again nearing a dramatic climax. 3 seasons back, the first and second placed teams of the league fought it out on the final day against each other and it was Mohun Bagan who managed to edge out Bengaluru FC to win the title. Last season Indian football fans witnessed one of the greatest success stories with the victory of Aizawl FC; however they were given a run for their money till the end as Mohun Bagan were pushed to second place only after a fierce battle that went on till the final whistle on the final day. However, this season is set to present the most thrilling end to an I-League season with as many as 4 teams still in the run for the title. Minerva Punjab, Neroca FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bahan all go into their final fixtures on the 8th of March with possibility of ending the season as I-league champions.
Currently, Minerva Punjab leads the table with 32 points, Neroca follows them closely with 31 in the second spot and Mohun Bagan pips East Bengal to the fourth spot on head-to-head results as both Kolkata sides have a tally of 30 points each. The final day fixtures involve Minerva Punjab facing relegation-threatened Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan coming up against the giant killers of this season Gokulam Kerala FC at their home turf and the 2nd placed Neroca FC playing the 4th placed East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium Kolkata. Tomorrow as the 6 teams take field at the same time (3pm Kickoffs), there are 27 different combination of results that could occur to ultimately decide the champions of this season!
The equation for Minerva is simple- they win their match and they are champions. However coming up against a Churchill Brothers side that needs a victory to avoid relegation their task would not be easy. In case the match ends in a draw, then they have to hope that the Neroca-East Bengal match ends only in a draw and Gokulam defeats Mohun Bagan or holds them to a draw. In case Minerva ends up losing the match, they again have to hope for the same results as above since even if Neroca and Minerva get equal on points, Minerva would be the champions on head-to-head results.
For all the other three teams to win the I-League, the first criterion is that Minerva should not win. In the case of such a scenario, then if Neroca wins their tie, they will be crowned champions. However if their match ends in a draw or a win for East Bengal, and Mohun Bagan wins their tie, then it would be the Maroon & Green Brigade that would be the new champions. Mohun Bagan though cannot win the league if Minerva manages to get a draw, as that would leave both teams at maximum 33 points and Minerva has a better head-to-head with Bagan.
For East Bengal to win the title from this point, they would need to defeat Neroca and also hope that both Minerva and Mohun Bagan drop points with a loss or draw in their respective fixtures. Again, East Bengal also has a better head-to-head against Minerva; therefore if Minerva and East Bengal end up with the same points, it would be the Kolkata giants that would be crowned the champions.
All the 27 possible scenarios are as listed below (Source: Fanport.in)-
The probability percentages of each club’s chances of becoming the champions are as below-
EAST BENGAL: 14.81%
MOHUN BAGAN: 11.11%
Can we expect a better finale to a football season? We doubt it!
(Article by our Football Analyst – Mishal Thanveer)