ISL: Einstein and the playoff quandary

As for Atletico de Kolkata, dismal in away matches, a win would secure a berth in the last four.

Written by Shahid Judge | Mumbai | Updated: December 7, 2014 10:03 am
With just two games left to play, Mumbai — last in the league table — will have to win both by big margins. (Source: ISL) With just two games left to play, Mumbai — last in the league table — will have to win both by big margins. (Source: ISL)

Pre-match calculations point to a very slim chance for Mumbai City FC to qualify for the knock-out stages of the ISL. Twelve points from as many games paints a dull picture for the team that will host Atletico de Kolkata at the DY Patil Stadium on Sunday.

But with just two games left to play, Mumbai — last in the league table — will have to win both by big margins to improve their goal difference, and hope luck favours them in other matches. Such are the complex equations involved that head coach Peter Reid refuses to bother doing the mathematics. “Only Einstein can figure that one out,” he says.

As for visitors, a win would secure a berth in the last four.

The Kolkata team currently sits in third position in the eight-team table, with 18 points from 12 games. Despite their relatively comfortable position when compared to Sunday’s opponents, goalkeeping coach Deshi Bhaktawer asserted his team is looking for the three points. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing or what position we are in, we always want to win,” he says.

The last time the two teams met was in the opening match of the tournament, which Kolkata won 3-0. That result effectively sums up Mumbai’s season. The goal-scoring department has been found wanting on several occasions. And what was once termed the stingiest defence in the league has leaked in nine goals in their last three matches.

Kolkata, in turn, enter their fourth consecutive away game with a loss and two draws. Yet they boast the benefit of a shorter injury list. Mumbai are still missing marquee player Fredrik Ljungberg while forward Andre Moritz remains doubtful. Nonetheless, there is a chance star striker Nicolas Anelka could start.

Dos Santos keeps Delhi hopes alive

Brazilian winger Gustavo dos Santos’ magical left-foot kept Delhi Dynamos in contention for a semi-final berth as they defeated Pune City FC by a solitary goal in the 13th round encounter of the Indian Super League. Dos Santos, who scored his fifth goal in the tournament, broke the deadlock in the 88th minute to take Dynamos to 17 points and up to fourth position in the league table. A win in their last away encounter against Chennayin FC will be enough to take Dynamos to the knock-out stages while Pune at 16 points and in sixth place will now have to win their last game and look forward towards favourable results. Dos Santos weaved past a couple of defenders before slotting it from a narrow angle. (PTI)

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