Goal.com's Ayush Srivastava has a look at the upcoming matches for the three teams that stay in contention for promotion and looks at the various possibilities for each side....
With two rounds to go in the final stage of I-League Division II qualifiers, three teams stay in the fray to get promoted to the elite division – ONGC, Mohammedan Sporting and United Sikkim SC.
ONGC have somewhat surpassed expectations, as not many expected them to really get promoted in their first attempt. The Mumbai-based club currently sits at the top of the league standings, having 20 points from 10 games.
Kolkata’s fallen giants Mohammedan Sporting currently occupy the second position in the table, a point behind ONGC, having played the same number of games.
United Sikkim are the third team in the race, with 18 points from 10 games.
While Royal Wahingdoh were several people’s favourites for promotion, their folly in fielding four foreign players at one time in a game, which led to them losing three points to league leaders ONGC, has cost them dear, as with 16 points. Also having played a game more than the front three, they cannot hope to finish in the top two, since the 2nd and 3rd placed team are yet to play each other, and no matter what the result there, they shall mathematically be out of the equation.
A Look At Division II Standings...
So what will each of the remaining three teams be hoping for in the coming 2 matchdays? Goal.com takes you through the various possibilities.
|1. ONGC, MUMBAI
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The Mumbai club could get promoted even without getting a single point from their coming 2 matches, if other results go their way.
However the team would definitely be hoping to do better than that and would look for a win from either of their two games against fellow contenders Mohammedan Sporting, and bottom placed Aizawl FC, to seal their place in next season’s I-League division I. Since Mohammedan Sporting and United Sikkim are set to face off on the final matchday, 3 points are all that ONGC need.
Even two losses would not mean automatic elimination, because if Bhaichung Bhutia’s side fail to win atleast one of their two games, ONGC would be through.
|2. MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING, KOLKATA
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The Kolkatan outfit will be looking to return to the top division next year, and if they manage to hold on to their current second position, they will have achieved their aim.
However the Black and Whites have quite a tough last two games, facing the two teams who are just above and below them, and hence their fortunes could swing either way.
Especially the last game against United Sikkim could well prove to be a virtual final, as the two teams are separated by just one point.
But it seems likely that Black Panthers will need a minimum of three points to seal their place in Division I. Just beating ONGC might not prove to be enough, as both the Mumbai-based club and United Sikkim, have to face bottom placed Aizawl FC, against whom the two clubs will fancy their chances.
So in all probability the vital game for Mohammedan Sporting will be the final one against United Sikkim, as no matter what the result against ONGC, a win against Bhaichung Bhutia’s side will guarantee them a place in Division I.
Similarly, if they win against ONGC, a draw against the Sikkimese outfit will suffice.
|3. UNITED SIKKIM
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Bhaichung Bhutia’s side are very much in contention to be elevated to the elite division next year, and with a game against Mohammedan Sporting being their final match, they very much have their destiny in their control.
Infact if they win their tie against Aizawl, and Mohammedan Sporting fail to get a win against ONGC, a draw against the Kolkatan giants will be enough to get the Sikkimese side promoted.
Anything less than a win against Aizawl will make it a bit tougher for United Sikkim, as they will have to rely on a favourable outcome in the game between the other two promotion hopefuls to stand a chance.
Who do YOU think will get promoted from the above three? Let us know YOUR views by commenting below...