The Indian Super League 2022-’23 season is into its final two weeks as six teams vie for the championship. The playoffs will get underway with the knockout matches between the four teams who finished between third and sixth, with the winners of the tie joining ISL League Shield winners Mumbai City FC and second-placed Hyderabad FC in the semi-finals
Indian Super League table
|Mumbai City FC (Q-semi)||20||14||4||2||33||46|
|Hyderabad FC (Q-semi)||20||13||3||4||20||42|
|ATK Mohun Bagan (Q)||20||10||4||6||7||34|
|Bengaluru FC (Q)||20||11||1||8||4||34|
|Kerala Blasters (Q)||20||10||1||9||0||31|
|Odisha FC (Q)||20||9||3||8||-2||30|
|East Bengal FC||20||6||1||13||-16||19|
|NorthEast United FC||20||1||2||17||-35||5|
How the league stage panned out
In a thrilling league phase, Mumbai City FC broke records as they clinched the ISL League Shield at a canter. The Islanders, led by Des Buckingham, look firm favourites to add the ISL title to their League Shield despite stumbling at the end of the league phase with their first two defeats of the season.
ISL: How Mumbai City FC forged a record-breaking run to the League Shield title
Defending champions Hyderabad FC joined Mumbai in the semi-finals after finishing second in the league. Manolo Marquez’s side boast the stingiest defence in the league having conceded only 16 times this season and have scored the joint second-most goals this season (36) after Mumbai’s 54 goals.
The top-two teams have been on a level of their own and it shouldn’t be a surprise if the two meet in the title showdown which has been scheduled to be held in Goa.
ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru finished level on points with the Kolkata side taking third place on the table due to their superior goal difference. At the halfway point in the season, Bengaluru looked destined to finish outside the top six. However, the Blues have been on a stunning eight-match winning run which sealed their place in the playoffs.
The Kerala Blasters were on an eight-match unbeaten run midway through the season but won only three of the nine matches they played this calendar year as they slipped to fifth in the league.
Odisha FC went into their final match against 10th-placed Jamshedpur knowing that a win would take them through to the playoffs. Instead, The Juggernauts slipped to a tame 2-0 loss. In the end, Odisha sneaked into the top-six after FC Goa lost 1-3 to Bengaluru.
Knockout 1: March 3 – Bengaluru FC (Home team) vs Kerala Blasters (Away Team)
Previous five meetings: Bengaluru - three wins, Blasters - one win, one draw
Bengaluru are the in-form team heading into the play-offs and by finishing fourth, have been rewarded with the opportunity to play the one-legged knockout in front of their home fans. The Blues have won eight of their 10 home matches this season. More importantly, they have never lost to the Blasters at the Sree Kanteerava, winning four and drawing two of their six meetings in the ISL.
Knockout 2: March 4 – ATK Mohun Bagan (Home team) vs Odisha FC (Away )
Previous five meetings: ATK Mohun Bagan - two wins, Odisha - 0 wins, three draws
Going into the final two matchdays, Odisha FC were in the driver’s seat - relatively speaking - to make it to the playoffs at Goa’s expense. But they nearly made a mess of things and needed an assist from Bengaluru to scrape into the top six.
ATK Mohun Bagan have been very strong at home, winning seven off their 10 matches at the Salt Lake stadium. Odisha, in contrast, have been poor travellers picking up just 10 points on the road. The Juggernauts have also never beaten ATKMB in their history. Probably a good occasion to get their first win over the Kolkata giants.
The semifinals will be two-legged affairs, followed by the final in Goa.
Semi-final 1 – 1st leg: March 7 – Mumbai City FC (Home team) vs Winner of Knockout 1
Semi-final 2 – 1st leg: March 9 – Hyderabad FC (Home team) vs Winner of Knockout 2
Semi-final 1 – 2nd leg: March 12 – Winner of Knockout 1 (Home team) vs Mumbai City FC
Semi-final 2 – 2nd leg: March 13 – Winner of Knockout 2 (Home team) vs Hyderabad FC
Final: March 18 at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Goa - Winner of Semi-final 1 vs Winner of Semi-final 2