NEW DELHI: The fourth edition of the Indian Super League is entering its final phase with the teams vying hard to seal playoff berths. While Bengaluru FC have become the first team to enter the knockouts, the competition is still open for the remaining spots.
Only goal difference separate FC Pune City and Jamshedpur FC who both have 25 points each. Pune are at second spot ahead of Jamshedpur at third but also have a game in hand.
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia feels the mathematical possibility of almost all teams being able to make it to the last-four has spiced up the contest with a consistent FC Goa under the cosh after losing to table-toppers Bengaluru FC.
In his column for Times of India, Bhaichung wrote that one slip from hereon could push Goa’s campaign off the track. “Indian Super League is reaching its climax and the pressure is getting to the teams. FC Goa, so consistent till now, seem to be feeling the heat a bit after their loss to current table-toppers Bengaluru FC. The result throws it a bit open now in the race for the third and the fourth spots in the semi-final,” he wrote.
As per Bhaichung, in their 0-2 defeat to Bengaluru, Goa went on the defense and not backing their strengths cost them the game. However, he did point out the quality of the Goa squad which makes them one of the top candidates to make it to the playoffs despite their current standings in the points table. “With the next match coming up against a strong Chennaiyin FC, a negative result may just prompt one to press the panic button. Goa did start with a bang but the two strikers not getting their names in the scoresheet for the last few matches, they have struggled a bit. However, it’s too early to dismiss them as a unit as there is fair amount of quality in the squad.
Most importantly, they have quite a few matches left and need to take one at a time,” he wrote.
Kerala Blasters boast of one of the strongest teams on paper but have failed to translate that onto the field. Currently, they are placed fifth on the points table with 23 points and their chances of qualification rest not only on their own performances but also on the results of other teams as well.
“They [Kerala Blasters] have to stay dependent on other teams for an entry into the last four. Personally for me, I had said prior to the kick-off that the Blasters were the strongest on paper, purely on basis of the conglomeration of Indian and the foreign talent which they had roped in,” he observed.