Juan Ferrando identifies four teams that can rival ATK Mohun Bagan for the Hero ISL crown

ATK Mohun Bagan are among the frontrunners to secure a semi-final berth in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) this season. The Mariners are second in the table, three points behind leaders Hyderabad FC with two games in hand. They are three points clear of fifth-placed Bengaluru FC having played two games more.

Since head coach Juan Ferrando took charge of the Kolkata giants, they have been on a ten-match unbeaten run and this current form should have them nailed on for a semi-final spot.

However, the Hero ISL this season is seeing an extremely close race for the top four spots and the top six teams are separated by just six points.

The Spaniard, though, believes there are four more teams apart from his side that have the potential to take home the Hero ISL crown this season.

“From my point of view it's Hyderabad FC, Mumbai City FC, Jamshedpur FC, and Kerala Blasters FC. These four teams are strong,” Ferrando told the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of the FC Goa game.

“Hyderabad FC are flying and they get three points in every game. Then Jamshepdur FC who won their last match against Kerala Blasters FC 3-0. It was incredible,” he added.

Ferrando reserved special praise for defending champions Mumbai City FC who he feels will be a real force to be reckoned with in the final lap of the season.

“If we are talking about Mumbai City FC we saw their win over Odisha FC and it is easy to understand the feeling in their camp. In the last five matches, they will be like a Formula One car,” he said.

The Mariners boss also didn’t rule out Kerala Blasters FC who have lost two of their last three matches but remain very much in contention for the semi-final spots.

“Kerala Blasters FC were consistent all through the season so in the last part of the season, they want to improve to give their best in the last matches,” he said.

Ferrando felt Bengaluru FC are slight outsiders in the race for the semi-finals given they have played more games than most of the teams in contention but he decided against discounting Marco Pezzaiuoli’s team.

“There is Bengaluru FC as well but at this point they have played 16 matches and we will see. But these four teams have the best chance to win the title and be in the top four,” he said.

The race for the top spot and the semi-final places is certain to go down to the wire and a season that has seen plenty of twists and turns already, is surely not done with its share of drama just yet.

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