Permutations and combinations behind the Krishna-Valskis Golden Boot race

All eyes will be on the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at the Fatorda in Goa on Saturday with ATK FC and Chennaiyin FC slated to clash in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 final. While the primary narrative of the contest will be about which team wins the title, another interesting sub plot which will also be unfolding during the course of the match will be the race for the Maruti Suzuki Golden Boot award. The hunt for the coveted end-of-season top scorer's award is all set to go right down to the wire with ATK's Fijian ace Roy Krishna (15 goals) leading Chennaiyin's Lithuanian hitman Nerijus Valskis by a single goal.

As per the current Golden Boot standings, Krishna is on top with 15 goals, followed by Kerala Blasters FC's Bartholomew Ogbeche (15 goals) and Valskis (14). In the Golden Boot standings, if two players are level on goals scored, assists become the differential. So, Ogbeche (1 assist) is already out of contention for the award as Krishna has five assists to his name and equal number of goals. Valskis, however, does have the opportunity to leapfrog the Fijian should he be able to overtake his tally on the final day. Here are the different possibilities which may arise after Saturday's final and the respective implications on the Golden Boot race.

Situation 1: Neither player scores

In the unlikely event of neither Krishna or Valskis finding the net on Saturday, the ATK man will bag the Golden Boot, while Valskis will finish third in the table behind Krishna and Ogbeche.

Situation 2: Both players score the same number of goals

Similarly, even if Krishna and Valskis score the same number of goals in the match, the Fijian will retain his one-goal lead and stake claim on the Golden Boot. Valskis, meanwhile, will overtake Ogbeche and finish second even in the event of both scoring at least one each (since he has more assists than Ogbeche).

Situation 3: If Krishna outscores Valskis

If the ATK man scores and his Chennaiyin counterpart doesn't, or even if Krishna outscores his rival in the match, the Fijian will automatically take the Golden Boot by the virtue of more goals scored.

Situation 4: Valskis outscores Krishna by one goal

If Valskis scores one goal and Krishna fails to register, or Valskis outscores Krishna by a single goal in the match, both players will be tied on goals scored. In such a scenario, assists will come into play. With Valskis having six assists and Krishna five currently, the Lithuanian will leapfrog the Fijian, provided neither registers an assist in the match.

If Krishna manages to grab one assist more than the Lithuanian while scoring one less, both will end up with the same goals and assists tally. In case of such a stalemate, the player who has played the lesser number of minutes will bag the award. With Valskis having played 264 minutes lesser than Krishna this season heading into the final, this scenario, too, will swing the race in favour of the Lithuanian.

However, if Krishna manages at least two more assists than Valskis even if he scores one less in the final, the Fijian will bag the Golden Boot since he will be level on goals but will have more assists to his name.

Situation 5: If Valskis outscores Krishna by two or more goals

In such a scenario, the Chennaiyin striker will bag the Golden Boot because he will overtake Krishna's goal tally for the season.

Which of the two, do you think, will come out on top in the Golden Boot race?

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