I-League 2019-20: The grueling fight for the second spot

Mohun Bagan are close to wiinning the I-League title as they need two more wins in order to lay their hands on the coveted trophy. 

The Mariners currently have a massive 12-point lead at the summit which could be extended further when they take on Chennai City FC on Thursday evening.

With the exception of Real Kashmir, who defeated NEROCA FC by a solitary goal, other teams in the top half of the I-League table have dropped points in their previous fixture.

Churchill Broothers suffered a 1-0 defeat to TRAU while East Bengal were held to a 1-1 draw by nine-man Gokulam Kerala. Punjab could have won full points in Mumbai but a late penalty allowed Indian Arrows to split the points. 

GFX I-League 2019-20 Top 7

*Top 7 standings as on March 4, 2019 (after fixtures of the day).

While the other teams have stuttered and struggled to win on a consistent basis, Mohun Bagan are on a seven-match winning stream and could possibly go on to match their own feat of 10 consecutive wins in the league.

For a top side like Real Kashmir to drop points in a 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Aizawl FC (16 points) not so long ago, the gap between the second spot and the teams fighting to save their season isn't significant.

While NEROCA (15 points) have picked two crucial wins over Gokulam Kerala and TRAU (19 points) in their last five matches, which has given them a chance to save their season. The league has seen several surprising results which has made the battle for the second spot interesting. Even teams who are fighting for relegation can possibly finish as high as the second position if a few results go in their favour.

Significant upcoming fixtures:

Mohun Bagan vs Chennai City (March 5): Even a point for the Kolkatan giants would throw East Bengal out of the title race.

Churchill Brothers vs Gokulam Kerala (March 8): The Goans will at home for the last time this season and against a side who had defeated them earlier in their campaign. A defeat for either side would more or less end their chances to clinch the silverware.

Real Kashmir vs East Bengal (March 9): A win for the Snow Leopards would heavily jeopardise the Red and Golds' hopes of finishing second before they face their arch-rivals in the Kolkata derby on March 15.

NEROCA FC vs Punjab FC (March 10): Depending on the result of Churchill Brothers and/or East Bengal, the Warriors  will be looking to retain their second spot in the league.