Which teams can join BFC in the ISL playoffs and how?

With Bengaluru FC having qualified for the knockouts, the other teams in the fray are FC Pune City, Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, FC Goa and Mumbai City FC.

Mumbai City needs to win three out of three games to stay in contention for a playoff place.   -  H. Vibhu

The fourth season of the Indian Super League is approaching the penultimate matchday with as many as six teams battling it out for three places in the playoffs.

With Bengaluru FC already having qualified, the other sides in the fray are FC Pune City, Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, FC Goa and Mumbai City FC.

We will take a look at the various scenarios and permutations possible for each team’s chances of making the playoffs.

If any of the below teams finish level on points, their positions will be determined in this order:

1) Most number of points compiled in league matches between the concerned clubs.

2) Superior goal difference resulting from league matches between the concerned clubs.

3) Most number of goals scored in the league matches between the concerned clubs.

4) Superior goal difference in the league stage.

5) Most number of goals scored in the league stage.

6) Highest fair play ranking.

7) Drawing of lots by the league.

 

FC Pune City: Matches left: 2 (vs FC Goa on Feb 25, vs Delhi Dynamos on Mar 2)

Position: 2nd, 29 points

Pune is currently second on the table with 29 points. It will take on one of its top four rivals Goa at home before locking horns with last placed Delhi. A win will be enough for Pune to secure its maiden playoff place. Two wins from two will seal a second-place finish for the Ranko Popovic-coached side.

Chennaiyin FC: Matches left: 2 (vs Kerala Blasters on Feb 23, vs Mumbai City FC on Mar 3)

Position: 3rd, 28 points

The 2015 champion has a straightforward scenario - It will face two of its playoffs challengers in the last two matches. A win from the trip to Kerala or the home match against Mumbai City will be enough to take it to its third playoffs in four years. Although, if it loses both its encounters, it will have to bank on other results to go its way.

However, there is a danger of Chennaiyin losing its place to Goa if both teams finish level on points with only a spot left to fill at the end of the league stages. In their head-to-head battles, both teams have the same number of points and goal difference.

In such a case, teams with a superior goal difference in the overall league stage will go through. It may spell trouble for Chennaiyin if it finishes level on points with Kerala and Mumbai at the end of the group stage as well, having drawn 1-1 and lost 1-0, respectively, to the two in the reverse fixtures.

Jamshedpur FC: Matches left: 2 (vs Bengaluru FC on Feb 25, vs FC Goa on Mar 3)

Position: 4th, 26 points

The ISL newcomer can make the playoffs with wins in its next two matches, which includes a tie against playoff rival Goa on the final day.  If Jamshedpur finishes on same points as Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC, it will progress to the knockout stages on more points obtained from the previous encounters against these clubs this season. Although, the scenario will be reversed if Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur end with the same number of points.

 

Kerala Blasters: Matches left: 2 (vs Chennaiyin FC on Feb 23, vs Bengaluru FC on Mar 1)

Position: 5th, 24 points

It will be some turnaround for the Blasters if it manages to sneak its way into the playoffs. However, it will require two wins out of two and hope for results to play out to its benefit. Placed fifth with 24 points, a win against Chennaiyin will take it to within a point of it and break into the top four for the first time this season. A win in its last match against Bengaluru at the Sree Kanteerava, followed by losses for Chennaiyin, Mumbai, and Goa in their final matches might just do the trick for the two-time finalist.

FC Goa: Matches left: 3 (vs FC Pune City on Feb 25, vs ATK on Feb 28, vs Jamshedpur FC on Mar 4)

Position: 6th, 21 points

After a five-match winless streak, FC Goa will need a win in each of its next three matches to go past the 26 point mark of Jamshedpur. However, anything short of three straight wins will mean the 2015 finalist will fail in its bid for a playoff place.

If Goa finished level on points with a win over Jamshedpur FC, the Sergio Lobero-caoched side could edge ahead of the latter owing to maximum points acquired in their league stage encounters. However, it has to hope that neither Mumbai City nor Kerala Blasters go past the 26 point barrier.

Mumbai City FC: Matches left: 3 (vs NorthEast United on Feb 22, vs Delhi Dynamos on Feb 25, vs ATK on Feb 27, vs Chennaiyin FC on Mar 3)

Position: 7th, 20 points

Mumbai City needs to win three out of three games to stay in contention for a playoff place. It will require Chennaiyin, Jamshedpur and Kerala Blasters to lose all its matches to have a say in the fight. The Alexandre Guimaraes-coached side will be keen for wins against NorthEast and Delhi, and hope its opponent from the final league match Chennaiyin loses to the Blasters before their eventual meeting in Chennai on March 3. If Mumbai finished with the same points as Jamshedpur, then the latter will go through on the basis of the most number of points compiled from their meeting in the league.