ISL 2023-24: Mumbai, Bagan battle for League Shield; Chennaiyin clinch last playoff spot

FILE: Lallianzuala Chhangte of Mumbai City FC and Liston Colaco of Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Hariom Hans/Focus Sports/ISL

Two teams are in the race to win the ISL League Shield, with the playoff race now at an end as the Top 6 of the Indian Super League has been confirmed with only five games left to play in the regular season. It was a thrilling season with plenty of twists and turns, and it could all come down to the final game of the season.

The race for the league shield

Mumbai City FC

Current points: 47 from 21 matches. (Q)

Maximum possible points: 50.

Remaining fixtures: Mohun Bagan Super Giant (A).

By beating Odisha, Mumbai have taken a big step towards retaining the ISL Shield. In their final league match, a draw against Bagan would suffice. That match, which is the last of the ISL league phase, could well be a winner-takes-all for the Shield.

Petr Kratky's side have picked up 25 points in nine games after losing to Jamshedpur in early February, with Vikram Partap Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bipin Singh in stirring form.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Current points: 45 from 21 matches. (Q)

Maximum possible points: 48.

Remaining fixtures: Mumbai City FC (H).

Bagan had to win on Thursday to stay in contention for the League Shield and they did their job by beating Bengaluru FC 4-0 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

The winners of the League Shield will now be decided on the final day of the league stage with Bagan facing leaders Mumbai City at home on April 15. Mumbai only need a draw as they have 47 points from 21 matches while only a victory will ensure Bagan gets the Shield as they have 45 points from 21 matches.


FC Goa

Current points: 42 from 21 matches. (Q)

Maximum possible points: 45.

Remaining fixtures: Chennaiyin FC (H).

Since the turn of the year, Goa have gone on a run of form that has seen them slip from favourites for the Shield to missing out. They have won only five league matches out of eleven in 2024 - and they can no longer win the Shield. However, they can still claim a runners-up spot for direct entry into the playoff semifinals after a last-gasp win over Jamshedpur, but face an improving Chennaiyin side in their final league game.

Odisha FC

Points: 39 from 22 matches. (Q)

Once top of the table, Odisha will look back upon the tailing off of their League Shield ambitions with a tinge of regret, and a loss to NorthEast United in their final game would not have raised hopes ahead of the playoffs.

Kerala Blasters

Points: 33 from 22 matches. (Q)

At the turn of the year, the Blasters were top of the league. In 2024, they've won two league games -- one of which was an epic comeback against FC Goa, and the other against bottom-placed Hyderabad.

They have claimed a spot in the playoffs for the third straight season under Ivan Vukomanovic. Although as the losses to East Bengal and NEUFC showed, there is plenty of reason to worry going into the playoffs.

Chennaiyin FC

Current points: 27 from 21 matches. (Q)

Maximum possible points: 30.

Remaining fixtures: FC Goa (A).

Owen Coyle managed to lose to an all-Indian Hyderabad XI and still make the playoffs. East Bengal's loss in their final game against Punjab means Chennaiyin FC play a dead rubber against FC Goa in their final game, as they cannot be caught on points.


NorthEast United FC

Points: 26 from 22 matches. (Eliminated)

NorthEast will look back upon the 19 points they have dropped from winning positions - the worst record in the league. And it was such a scenario that occurred in their crucial game against Chennaiyin FC, where they gave up a 1-0 lead to lost 1-2 in injury time and bow out of the playoff race.

However, they achieved a creditable 26 point total for an unfancied squad with plenty of Indian talent emerging - raising hopes for next season.

Punjab FC

Points: 24 from 22 matches. (Eliminated)

The loss to Mohun Bagan eliminated Punjab FC from playoff contention, as their total cannot eclipse that of Chennaiyin FC, who they lose out to on H2H as well.

A win over East Bengal in the last game propelled them up the table, which is creditable for the debutants.

East Bengal FC

Points: 24 from 22 matches. (Eliminated)

Needing a win in their final game against Punjab, East Bengal limped to a 1-4 defeat.

Carles Cuadrat will surely reflect on the missed opportunity to build from their Super Cup victory.

Bengaluru FC

Points: 22 from 22 matches. (Eliminated)

Bengaluru's playoff hopes were dashed when they lost to East Bengal. And the 0-4 humbling at the hands of rivals Mohun Bagan will have hurt no doubt.

Plenty of introspection in the off-season for Sunil Chhetri and co. as well as the club hierarchy.

Jamshedpur FC

Points: 21 from 22 matches. (Eliminated)

Their loss at Chennai meant they were out of the playoff race, as they lose out to Chennaiyin on H2H, even if they'd won their final game against Goa.

It was all moot anyway, as Jamshedpur lost out in injury time against Goa to end their season.