With the final matchday approaching, Goal.com takes a closer look at the groups and their possible outcomes...
Before deciphering the possibilities of which teams will qualify for the semifinals, we first need to understand the rules governing a tie-breaker. Unlike most major international tournaments only a single team qualifies from every group for the knockout stages. The ranking within every group is resolved by:
Group A – Possible outcomes
Pailan Arrows versus Shillong Lajong
Mumbai FC versus Dempo SC
Everyone's up for it
Who is already through or knocked out?
The group is awash with possibilities, as none of the teams have been knocked out yet, with all four of them going into the final round with a chance to make it through, though Dempo SC are firmly in the driver’s seat.
Dempo SC’s scenario
A win for the Goans against Mumbai FC will take them through, regardless of the scores elsewhere. A draw could also prove to be enough, provided Shillong Lajong do not win their game against Pailan Arrows. A Pailan Arrows win combined with a Dempo draw would make it tricky, since then the result shall be decided by goal difference and might even come down to the no. of goals scored by both the sides.
A loss might also not completely rule them out, provided Lajong and the Arrows draw their game. That would leave Mumbai FC, Shillong Lajong and Dempo SC on 4 points, with each side having beaten one of each other once. Goal difference would then decide who makes it through.
Shillong Lajong’s scenario
A win for Dempo would draw the curtains on the campaign of the team from the North-East. However anything less than a win for the Goan side would hand Desmond Bulpin’s side a glorious opportunity to make it through, provided they win their tie against Pailan Arrows.
A draw would leave them hoping for a Mumbai FC win, which would leave Dempo, Mumbai FC and themselves tied on 4 points, with goal difference deciding who will make it through. A defeat against Pailan Arrows will see them crash out of the tournament.
Pailan Arrows’s scenario
Arrows can only qualify, if Dempo lose, or at worse draw their game against Mumbai FC, while Arthur Papas’ side has to win against Shillong Lajong, to have any hope of making it through.
A win for them, combined with a Dempo loss, would sent the young side into the semi-finals, while a win combined with a Dempo draw, will leave them at the mercy of goal difference, as the Goans had earlier drawn against Pailan Arrows.
Mumbai FC’s scenario
The Mumbai FC club have to hope for a win against Dempo, and for nothing but a draw between Pailan Arrows and Shillong Lajong, to have any hope of making it through.
Air India – Churchill Brothers S.C
Mohun Bagan – Mohammedan Sporting
Any surprises here?
Who are already through or knocked out?
Kolkatan giants Mohun Bahan, after having garnered just a single point from their 2 games are now out of the competition.
Churchill Brothers’ scenario
The Goans are in pole position to make it through to the semifinal. If they win against Air India, then no other team can catch them. A draw would leave them hoping for Mohammedan Sporting to either draw or lose against Mohun Bagan, a possibility that cannot be ruled out.
A loss against Air India would see them crash out.
Nothing but a win shall do for the Kolkatan outfit, and then too they will have to hope that Churchill Brothers do not win their clash against Air India.
Air India’s scenario
Air India can only make it through if they beat Churchill Brothers, and Mohammedan Sporting do not win against Mohun Bagan.
If Mohammedan Sporting win, then Air India would be knocked out regadless of their result, as they fall behind the Kolkatan outfit on goal difference.
*We shall update this after the results of matchday two in this group
Defending champs on top
Who are already through or knocked out?
This is the most straightforward of the groups, as Prayag United and United Sikkim, with one and zero points respectively, cannot make it past the group stages, as Salgaocar with six points is now firmly out of their reach.
Up against their only rivals in the group, Pune FC, the Goans need to only avoid defeat against the Red Lizards, to make it through to the semi-finals. A loss would see them getting knocked out of the competition.
Pune FC’s Scenario
It is a straightforward scenario for Derrick Pereira’s side. They need to beat the defending champions to make it through to the semi-finals of the Federation Cup for the first time. Any other result will see them getting knocked out of the tournament.