Jamshedpur FC will be hoping to make its first play-off qualification memorable by securing the league winner’s Shield when it meets last year’s runner-up ATK Mohun Bagan in the league title-deciding match of ISL-8 at Fatorda on Monday. The fact that the concluding match of the league has effectively become a final before the play-offs would be giving the planners of the tournament a lot of satisfaction.
The requirements prior to the ‘decider’ majorly favours Jamshedpur FC, which is the current table topper with 40 points from 19 matches and needs only a point to secure the Shield and a berth in the AFC Champions League.
ATKMB, currently on 37 from 19, has a comparatively uphill task to accomplish as it needs to win by a clear two-goal margin in order to nudge Jamshedpur out from the top of the table.
The last time the two sides met, Jamshedpur edged past ATKMB by a 2-1 result. ATKMB had missed the Shield last season when it lost the League’s top position to Mumbai City FC on statistics after finishing tied on 40 points. The Kolkata giant will be hoping for better luck this time.
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On the assessment of form, Jamshedpur is also ahead having won six matches on the trot and matched the tournament record after having done so. If it manages to beat ATKMB, it will be setting a new mark. JFC also has the chance to break the previous high of point accumulation (40 points) if it manages to remain unbeaten in the last match.
For ATKMB, which has remained unbeaten in 15 matches, it has the chance to create a new ISL record of becoming the first team to remain undefeated in 16 games.
“The bottom line is that there are going to be two very good teams going toe-to-toe on the pitch. We know that if we’re at our very best then we can produce a positive result and we will approach the game with the intention of winning because that’s how we play,” JFC head coach Owen Coyle set the tone for the upcoming contest.
“I hope we have success. To do that it is necessary to control the game minute by minute. It is difficult but, to be honest, it is a great opportunity because we are in the last game with one opportunity to get the trophy (the Shield),” said the ATKMB coach Juan Ferrando.