How the 2020-21 Hero ISL semi-finals race stands as of now

As we enter the last few days of the league stage of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21, two of the top four spots are still up for grabs. ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC have sealed their place in the semis but are battling it out for the first and second spots in the standings. Following the NorthEast United FC’s 2-1 win against SC East Bengal on Tuesday, there are now just three contenders in the race for the third and fourth spots – Hyderabad FC, FC Goa and the Highlanders themselves. Let’s see what the qualifying scenarios are for each of these three teams as well as how the battle for the top spot may unfold.

The battle for the summit of the league table:

ATK Mohun Bagan

ATK Mohun Bagan presently have a six-point lead over Mumbai City FC and they will be a cinch to finish as leaders if the Islanders fail to get the three points against Odisha FC on Wednesday. However, if the Islanders do win against Odisha FC, then ATK Mohun Bagan will have to get a point against Mumbai City FC on Sunday to finish on top. But if they lose on Sunday, the Mariners will be equal on 40 points with the Islanders, and latter will go into the semis as leaders on account of accumulating more points against ATK Mohun Bagan during the league stage. Mumbai City FC won the first tie 1-0 in January.

Mumbai City FC

The equation is simple for the Islanders: the only way for them to seal the top spot is that they must beat both Odisha FC and ATK Mohun Bagan as they can’t afford to drop even a single point.

Fight for the last two semis spots:

FC Goa

Thanks to their two successive wins recently against Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC, FC Goa are in a strong position and now all they want is a point from their last game of the league stage against Hyderabad FC on Sunday to qualify for the semis.

Hyderabad FC

Manuel Marquez’ men will have to win the contest against the Gaurs to qualify for the semis. Any other result will end in heartbreak for them.

NorthEast United FC

If NorthEast can get just one point against Kerala Blasters FC on Friday, they will qualify for the semis. However, if they lose and so do FC Goa to Hyderabad FC on Sunday, the Highlanders will be in a tight spot. A defeat for both teams – NorthEast and FC Goa -- will put them equal on 30 points each. The teams drew both their league-stage matches against each other and consequently nullified the next important requirements – most points, superior goal difference and most goals from their 1-1 and 2-2 draws -- which means all will then depend on the overall goal difference. As of now FC Goa have a superior goal difference of eight compared to NorthEast’s four. So, if the Highlanders lose narrowly 1-0 to Kerala Blasters FC, they will hope for a 6-0 win for Hyderabad FC against the Gaurs, which by no means is an ideal scenario for them.

The final position of the Club in the league table (when all Clubs have played all their League Matches) is determined in this order:

1. Most number of points obtained in all league matches.

2. If two or more Clubs are equal on the basis of the above criteria, their place shall be determined as follows:

- Most number of points obtained in the league Matches between the clubs concerned
- Superior goal difference resulting from league matches between the clubs concerned
- Most number of goals scored in the league matches between the clubs concerned
- Superior goal difference in all league matches
- Most number of goals scored in all the league matches
- Highest fair play ranking
- Drawing of lots by league

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