New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) The title race for the I-League is heating up, with four teams — Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU), Churchill Brothers FC, Gokulam Kerala FC, and Mohammedan SC — still in the mix to lift the trophy with two rounds left.
TRAU are currently sit at the top of the table with 25 points. Although the Imphal-based side are tied on points with Churchill Brothers Goa, they are ahead on a superior goal difference. Since the previous match between these teams had ended 1-1, it has nullified the head-to-head record for now.
However, that could all change soon, as the two teams face-off against each other at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan (KBK) in Kolkata on Sunday.
Gokulam Kerala FC, meanwhile, are just two points behind TRAU and Churchill, and are very much in the title race. Mohammedan SC are also in with an outside chance, as they occupy the fourth spot with 20 points to their name.
TRAU-Churchill Brothers clash
If either TRAU or Churchill win Sunday’s clash at the KBK, they will hold the head-to-head advantage over the other, which means that with one match to go, and a three-point deficit, the team that loses will not be able to topple its counterpart on the points table.
In such a scenario, the winning team of the match between TRAU and Churchill Brothers will hope for a favour from Mohammedan Sporting, who face off against Gokulam Kerala at the Kalyani Stadium at 4.05 pm on Sunday.
Should Gokulam drop points after either TRAU or Churchill come out with a win in the first game of Sunday, the winner of the aforementioned game will be crowned champions of the I-League.
Tough task for Gokulam vs Mohammedan Sporting
The scenario for Gokulam is a bit more complicated. While a win against Mohammedan Sporting will certainly help their cause, they will have to depend on other results. Being two points behind the top two sides, a victory for the Malabarians will ensure that the title race goes down to the last day of the season.
However, if TRAU and Churchill Brothers play out a draw at the KBK, Gokulam can go level on points with the top two with a win over Mohammedans. A draw in such a scenario will also keep their title hopes alive, though their last game against TRAU may become a virtual final for them.
Outside chance for Mohammedans
Mohammedan SC seem to be the dark horses in the race for the title at the moment, though they are entirely dependent on other results. While they themselves need to ensure victory against Gokulam, the Black Panthers would also have to hope for a draw between TRAU and Churchill at the KBK.
If both results go their way, Mohammedans will be three points behind the top two, and will thus have to beat Real Kashmir in their final match of the season. While these results will take the Black Panthers to 26 points, they will also have to hope that Gokulam Kerala beat TRAU on the final day of the season, while also hoping that RoundGlass Punjab beat Churchill Brothers.
Should all the stars align for the Kolkata-based club, there would be a three-way tie at the top of the table, with TRAU, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala, and Mohammedan Sporting being on 26 points apiece. With victories against Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala already in their bag, Mohammedans stand a good chance of winning the title, should all the top four teams be tied on points come the final day.