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I-League 2018-19: Chennai City FC one win away from historic title after East Bengal draw with Aizawl FC

EXPERT COLUMNIST
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597   //    25 Feb 2019, 19:45 IST

Chennai City's (from left) Pedro Manzi, Nestor Gordillo, and Sandro Rodriguez have been the key players in their I-League campaign
Chennai City's (from left) Pedro Manzi, Nestor Gordillo, and Sandro Rodriguez have been the key players in their I-League campaign

Chennai City FC are just one win away from bagging a historic I-League title. East Bengal dropped points against Aizawl FC on Monday, which has now made Chennai's march easier.

Chennai City FC title Scenario 1

With 40 points in 18 matches, Chennai City are seven points ahead of Real Kashmir and East Bengal, who have 33 points in 17 games.

Real Kashmir and East Bengal have three games to go but one of these games involves the two sides facing each other in Delhi on February 28.

This means that either Real Kashmir or East Bengal can attain a maximum of 42 points.

Chennai face Churchill Brothers and Minerva Punjab in their two remaining games. Three points from either match will see them take an unassailable lead in the title race.

Chennai City could seal it as early as March 1 if they pull off a victory over Churchill Brothers in Goa.

Chennai City FC title Scenario 2

If Real Kashmir and East Bengal's game in Delhi ends in a draw, then Chennai City need just one point from their remaining 2 matches.

In this scenario, Real Kashmir and East Bengal can reach 40 points after the draw and 2 victories for each side. Any further drop will hand CCFC the title.

Although Real Kashmir and East Bengal still remain in the title race, Chennai City FC are the favorites as of now.

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Jobby Justin of East Bengal is dejected after a missed opportunity against Aizawl FC
Jobby Justin of East Bengal is dejected after a missed opportunity against Aizawl FC

East Bengal have only themselves to blame after failing to surpass the Aizawl hurdle on Monday. 

Leonce Dodoz gave Aizawl the lead in the 23rd minute only for East Bengal to equalize through Enrique Esqueda in the 65th minute. 

Aizawl were reduced to 10 men five minutes after Kareem Omolaja was shown a straight red card by the referee. But East Bengal failed to make most of the numerical advantage over the next 20 minutes to snatch 3 points from the game.

Chennai City have undoubtedly been one of the best sides in Indian football this season. Coached by Akbar Nawas, they have lost only once at home in Coimbatore.

Both their defeats in the 2018/19 I-League season have come against Real Kashmir. However, the Snow Leopards also lost their plot when they drew to Churchill Brothers on January 31. Real Kashmir have six draws and these lost points have proven to be crucial to the title race.

In the last few years, the I-League season went down to the wire. However, we may crown a new champion as early as Friday in Goa.

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