Three Horse Race: Equating the chances of winning I-League

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Equating the chances of Aizwal FC, Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal of winning the I-League.

Liverpool’s legendary former manager Bill Shankly once said, “If you are first, you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.” With the focus clearly on clinching the I-League title, it’s catchphrase for MohunBagan as well as Aizwal.

Mohun Bagan took a huge step towards reclaiming the I-League title as they outplayed arch-rivals East Bengal. The 2-1 scoreline didn’t quite reflect the poise and command Mohun Bagan displayed in the entire 90 minutes of the needle clash.

Aizwal FC lost to Bengaluru FC courtesy of a late <Marjan Jugovic strike. Bengaluru FC dominated Aizwal right from the word go and were awarded 3 points for their dominant performance. A lateChettri free-kick saw Jugovic out jumping the defence of Aizwal FC.

East Bengal have blown their chances of winning the I-LEAGUE. Their poor performance against Bagan means their I-League campaign is over.

With the I-League entering the home stretch, it looks to be a three-horse race for the title among Aizwal FC, Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal. What do they need to clinch the coveted crown ?? Read on…..

Aizwal FC

Aizawl FC
Photo: Aizawl FC

Current Ranking – 1st

Points – 30 from 15 games

Remaining Matches – vs Churchill Brothers ( away on April 15 ), vs Mohun Bagan ( home on April 22 ), vs Shillong Lajong FC ( away, date yet to be decided )

The Equation

Aizwal can script a ‘Leicester moment’ in Indian football if they win their remaining matches and take their tally to 39 points. But as they approach the finishing line, it looks to be getting trickier for Khlaid Jamil’s bravehearts. Their three last fixtures include matches against the champions Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers. While they have remained unbeaten at home, collecting 22 points from 8 matches, Aizwal have managed just 8 points from 7 away fixtures. So their performance in Goa holds the key.

Mohun Bagan A.C.

Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal Match Preview

Current Ranking – 2nd

Points – 29 from 14 games.

Remaining fixtures – vs Shillong Lajong FC ( away on April 12 ), vs Minerva Punjab FC ( away on April 15 ), vsAizwal FC ( away on April 22 ), vs Chennai City FC ( home, date yet to be decided )

The Equation –

The title is theirs to lose.Sanjoy Sen’s side has suffered the least number of losses (1) and conceded the least number of goals (9). They are a team in form, having won their last 3 games ( including one in AFC CUP and the “Kolkata Derby”  convincingly. However, Mohun Bagan have a lot of traveling to do as they play 3 of their remaining 4 matches away from Kolkata. Their match against Aizwal FC on April 22 could turn out to be the title decider.

East Bengal

Football has always been the major sport in Bengal because of the culture and history, the two old clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are old clubs in India, and Mohun Bagan being a club, even older than clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid

Current Ranking – 3rd

Points – 27 from 15 games

Remaining fixtures – vs DSK Shivajians ( home on April 16 ), vs Minerva Punjab FC ( home on April 23 ), vs Mumbai FC ( away, date yet to be decided )

The Equation –

Their title hopes are over. After their lose against Mohun Bagan their title hopes depends more on Aizwal’s and Bagan’s results rather than their own results. Losses against Churchill Brothers, Chennai City FC and Mohun Bagan have dented their title hopes and Trevor Morgan faces the challenge of keeping his men focused so as not to suffer any further slip-up. Though it’s not in their hands completely, East Bengal can still fancy their chances given that Aizwal have a few tricky tests including a clash against Mohun Bagan. Also, the red and golds have relatively easy matches, including a couple at home.