Mohun Bagan who at one stage were looking to cruise to the coveted I-League trophy, have now a one point advantage over Bengaluru FC after their defeat at the hands of Kalyan Bharat FC.
Mohun Bagan have taken seven points from their last five games, which has been a matter of concern for Sanjoy Sen. Bengaluru FC on the other hand have hit form just at the right time, the Bangalore based club have picked up eleven points from a possible fifteen available to take them within a point of the League leaders Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan face Sporting Clube De Goa at the Fatorda next in what will be a must win clash for both sides. Sporting would have to win the match to come out of the relegation zone and Bagan cannot afford to lose any more points as Bengaluru FC will likely catch up on them if the Green and Maroons do slip up.Former Mohun Bagan striker Odafa Okolie is currently plying his trade for the Goan outfit and will be looking to dent his former employers title hopes, it remains to be seen if Odafa and Sporting can help Bengaluru FC get a grip on the title by defeating the Green and Maroons.
Bengaluru FC travel to Shillong next to face Shillong Lajong .Lajong are in no threat of relegation , however they have been poor all season having lost seven of their games and winning only four.Shillong Lajong have picked up a total of six points from their last five matches, a stat that indicates their form this season. Bengaluru FC can become league leaders if they beat Lajong and can pile the pressure up on Mohun Bagan. The Men of steel will however be wary of the fast and skillful Lajong who recently defeated Dempo 3-0. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong has proven to be tricky venue for visiting teams, a fact which would play on the minds of the defending I League champions.
Both Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan have two home games and two away games remaining in their campaign. Bengaluru FC after their clash with Lajong face Salgaocar SC and Dempo, both the Goan clubs have failed to make an impact in this years I-League and Bengaluru FC will be hoping to take maximum points from these two fixtures.Salgaocar SC are in sixth position and Dempo are currently in ninth position in the I-League table.
Mohun Bagan have a difficult task of facing Royal Wahingdoh, after they face Sporting Clube De Goa .The newly promoted side have been a revelation this season with two of their strikers making a mark on the National Footballing scene- Satiyasen Singh and Jackichand Singh.The Meghalayan club still have an outside chance of winning the I-League, however it would be miraculous to say the least if Wahingdoh clinch the title beneath the noses of Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan. However they will play a massive role in deciding this years I-League winners.
Royal Wahingdoh defeated Mcdowells Mohun Bagan in Shillong 3-2 under controversial circumstances and Bagan will be looking for revenge this time, as well as not losing any more vital points so they can have a grip on the title. In the penultimate game week, Mcdowells Mohun bagan will again face Sporting Clube De Goa, but this time the Green and Maroons will play in their own backyard and will be expected to snatch all three points.
There is a major possibility of the race for the League, going down to the wire. The final round of fixture will see Bengaluru FC take on Mcdowells Mohun Bagan at the Kanteevera Stadium in Bangalore. The last time these two met, Sony Norde ripped apart Bengaluru FC’s defence , this time however Ashley Westwood will definitely keep that in mind before the game.Mohun Bagan won 4-1 against Bengaluru FC at the Barasat Stadium, with Sony Norde scoring a brace and Katsumi and Balwant joining him on the scoresheet.Astonishingly it was Sunil Chettri who had given the visitors the lead in that match.
The likes of Sean Rooney, Robin Singh and Sunil Chettri have to be in top form if Bengaluru FC want to edge out Kolkatan Giants Mcdowells Mohun Bagan in the race for the title.A player who has been a revelation this season is Eugeneson Lyngdoh, the former Shillong Lajong man has been in fine form this season under Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood and the midfielder is Bengaluru FC’s top scorer in the I-League with five goals from midfield.For Mohun Bagan’s point of view players like Sony Norde , Katsumi , Balwant and goalkeeper Debjit Majumder have to be at their best if Bagan want to bring the title back after a wait of 13 long years.
Wherever the title goes, for neutrals it would be a treat to watch the final round of games in the I-League as the League title and relegation battle heats up.After many years the League title could be decided on the final day of the League and while that could see a lot of heartbreak for one set of fans, it will definitely be a thrilling experience for all neutrals following the I-League.It certainly reminds us of the title Arsenal won in 1990 on the final day of the season, defeating Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield.