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ISL Playoffs race: Who Will Finish in the 6th Spot in the ISL 2023-24?

If the competition for the top spot in the Indian Super League is captivating, so too is the battle for the remaining positions within the top six. Kerala Blasters face a tense wait of 17 days as the ISL pauses for its final break of the season. The league, often interrupted due to national team duties, halted on Thursday with Mumbai City FC at the helm of the standings, edging ahead due to a superior goal difference over Mohun Bagan Super Giant, who have a game yet to play.

As the Indian Super League enters its final stretch, Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City appear to have surged ahead in the race for the shield, although Odisha FC and FC Goa are still contenders. Mohun Bagan’s concluding match against Mumbai City carries significant weight, especially after Mumbai City’s impressive performance before the break, highlighted by Vikram Pratap Singh’s hattrick against NorthEast United.

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Tense Battle Unfolds for Top Six Spots in Indian Super League (ISL)

The competition for the remaining two places in the top six is as thrilling as the battle for the top spot in the Indian Super League. With the exception of Hyderabad FC, who secured their first win by defeating Chennaiyin FC, every team still has a chance to qualify. Kerala Blasters are in a favorable position to secure one of these spots, needing just three points from their remaining three games. Additionally, Punjab FC, promoted from the I-League this season, could also clinch a spot, providing hope for Mohammedan Sporting, the runaway leaders of the 2023-24 I-League.

ISL Points Table Image Credits X ISL Playoffs race: Who Will Finish in the 6th Spot in the ISL 2023-24?
ISL Points Table, Image Credits- X

The race for the coveted 6th spot in the ISL is incredibly tight, with Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC, and Punjab FC all tied on 21 points from 19 games. Close behind are NorthEast United with 20 points from 19 games, and Chennaiyin FC with 18 points from 18 games. East Bengal also remains in contention with 18 points from 19 games.

East Bengal

East Bengal FC, despite historical challenges in the tournament, recently celebrated a significant triumph by clinching the Kalinga Super Cup, marking their first senior trophy at the national level in 12 years. Notably, they accomplished this feat while also achieving the rare feat of winning two derbies in a single season, a source of joy for East Bengal fans who had awaited such victories for years.

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Currently positioned in the tenth spot in the ISL league table, Carles Cuadrat and his team have set their sights on securing a sixth-place finish to earn a coveted playoff berth.

East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat Image Credits ISL Official Website ISL Playoffs race: Who Will Finish in the 6th Spot in the ISL 2023-24?
Carles Cuadrat, image Credits- X

East Bengal’s chances of securing a better position in the ISL took a hit following their loss to the Mariners in the Kolkata derby on Sunday. Failing to claim the crucial three points has dampened their hopes for qualification. Carles Cuadrat’s team now faces a considerable challenge if they aim to secure a spot in the top six of the ISL 2023-24 table. Despite the setback against their arch-rivals, the Red & Gold Brigade remain in contention, but their fate now relies heavily on other teams dropping points. This situation adds pressure as they navigate the remaining fixtures in their pursuit of a playoff berth.

Chennaiyin FC

Following a surprising loss to Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC finds themselves in a challenging position. Manager Owen Coyle remains optimistic about his team’s prospects, believing they can still secure qualification for the next round despite the setback. However, East Bengal’s hopes now hinge on Chennaiyin FC dropping points to simplify their path to qualification.

NorthEast United

NorthEast United are in a favorable position to clinch a top-six spot in the ISL. The only thing that can stop the Highlanders to drop five points, is by losing two games.

Punjab FC

Punjab FC has been on a hot streak recently, with Madih Talal emerging as a crucial player for the team. However, for Punjab FC to secure their own qualification for the top six, they must not drop two points or lose against East Bengal. This scenario would ensure that East Bengal qualifies for the top six while preventing Punjab FC from doing so themselves.

Punjab FC Image Credits X ISL Playoffs race: Who Will Finish in the 6th Spot in the ISL 2023-24?
Punjab FC, Image Credits- X

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC finds themselves in a challenging position in this ISL season, facing a dip in form. Despite their struggles, the team possesses considerable quality and talent, capable of turning games in their favor. However, for other teams hoping to secure a spot in the top six, they may need Bengaluru FC to stumble or face setbacks in their remaining fixtures.

Jamshedpur FC

Meanwhile, Khalid Jamil’s Jamshedpur FC has the most probable chances to retain their 6th spot as they are sitting on it currently with 21 points but will have to make sure they don’t drop points at any cost and win the rest of their three matches as Punjab are also at par on points but with a negative goal deficit.

However, amidst the excitement surrounding the ISL, there’s a need to acknowledge Odisha FC’s elimination from the AFC Cup. The inter-zonal semi-finals mark the furthest ISL teams have progressed in Asia’s second-tier competition, which is two rounds beyond Bengaluru FC’s appearance in the final in 2016, or Dempo and East Bengal’s qualification for the semi-finals prior to the inception of the ISL.

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