The impeccable Mariners need just two points or just avoid a defeat to Mumbai City FC in their final game to win the League Shield…
Mumbai City looked set to win the league stage of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) a few rounds ago but they now find themselves five points off ATK Mohun Bagan who are comfortably placed at the top of the table
With the Islanders set to face the Mariners in the final league stage fixture of the season. the battle for the top spot was expected to be decided only then. However, with Mumbai City dropping points at the tail end of the season, Antonio Habas’ team only need two points from their last two fixtures to seal their league title victory and qualify for next season’s AFC Champions League. In fact, all they need to do is avoid losing to Mumbai City in their final league game to seal the top spot.
Bagan have been absolutely impeccable with their performances during the final phase of the league stage and have delivered when it matters. They have registered five wins a row and are in pole position to secure the top spot.
Mumbai City, on the other hand, have thrown away their comfortable lead at the top of the table and have suffered a drop in form during the same period. Lobera’s team has just one win in their last six games, an unacceptable record for a team that put together a record-breaking run of being unbeaten in 12 consecutive matches earlier this season.
Mumbai’s loss against Jamshedpur on Saturday was their fourth defeat of the season – they now have lost the most number of games among the top five teams. Curiously, three of the four losses have come in their last six games, which is a classic case of throwing an advantage away.
The CFG-owned club would hope that the Mariners, who are in a terrific run of form, drop points against Hyderabad. The top two teams will then be involved in a face-off which will determine the eventual league winner.
“I always believe till the end but now the situation has changed. We depend on them and we need to keep an eye on the result on Monday. It is a difficult situation because so far it depended on us. If ATK Mohun Bagan doesn’t win their next game then we still have a chance,” Lobera had said after the defeat against Jamshedpur on Saturday.
It has been a phenomenal turnaround in the fight at the top of the table involving two standout performers this season and the well-oiled machine from Kolkata are now in the driving seat. They now face two teams who have different yet strong reasons to beat them. Hyderabad are involved in the race for the top four and Mumbai City need that top spot in their first season under Sergio Lobera. The league stage is set for a grand finish.