The final round of matches will begin with the relegation battle at the Fatorda between Salgaocar and Dempo SC. However, fittingly, the I-League will eventually conclude with Bengaluru FC facing Mohun Bagan in the top of the table clash. In a nutshell, it will be winner takes all.
Goa clubs, Mumbai FC and Shillong Lajong in the relegation battle
First, we take a look at the bottom of the table. For the first time ever in the I-League, the relegation battle will be contested between 5 clubs. Bottom placed Bharat FC will avoid relegation courtesy of them being a franchise club. That said, the relegation battle begins from Mumbai FC (6th position, 21 points) and goes all the way up to 10th placed Dempo SC on 19 points. Here are the fixtures to be played on Saturday.
Mumbai FC vs Bharart FC
Salgaocar vs Dempo SC
I-League 2015: Relegation Scenario
Although it seems strange to predict the team that will not beat the drop, we at Sports Rediscovered take a look at the possible relegation scenarios. With just 2 points separating Mumbai FC and the penultimate side Dempo, it is essential that Mumbai force a result. With Bharat FC safe from relegation for the next 3 years, a draw against them will see Khalid Jamil’s Mumbai side secure safety.
The Goa derby between Salgaocar and Dempo will be perhaps the most important match on ‘Survival Saturday’. Dempo, who have been in good form lately will be looking for a win while a draw should be enough to see Salgaocar live to fight another day.
Shillong Lajong and Sporting Goa will have tough assignments on Saturday. Lajong will face the mighty East Bengal and will require every inch of their fire-power to beat the Green and Gold brigade. Sporting on the other hand have had recent successes and boast of decent form. Their win over Mohun Bagan a couple of weeks back is evidence of the previous statement.
Prediction: Shillong Lajong have a lesser chance of winning, thus making them the top contenders to drop into the 2nd division of the I-League. In spite of their 9th position on the I-League 2015 table, it seems highly unlikely that the Lajong attack can withstand the likes of Ranti Martins and Arnab Mondal.
I-League 2015: Bengaluru FC vs Mohun Bagan
While the relegation scrap continues, most eyes will be on the top of the table. Fittingly, it will be Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC who will write the final chapter of the I-League 2015. The I-League heavyweights face off at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in a ‘winner takes all’ encounter. The Mariners are currently 2 points ahead and only a win for the Blues will see them retain their I-League crown.
Prediction: As a fan, my heart is always with Bengaluru. However, given their recent run of form, my head says that Mohun Bagan will scrape through with a win. That said, anything is possible in the I-League. The presence of John Johnson in defence will be key. In his absence, the Blues secured a scrappy draw against Dempo and recorded a 2-0 loss to South China at Hong Kong.
Join us on twitter at 4pm for I-League 2015 ‘Survival Saturday’ as we bring you the live updates from all fixtures across the country.