The I-League will get its newest champions on Saturday, with Gokulam Kerala, TRAU and Churchill Brothers battling it out among themselves on the final day.
Top spot holders Gokulam Kerala FC will host third-placed TRAU at Kishore Bharati Stadium. Meanwhile, the second-placed Churchill Brothers will lock horns with RoundGlass Punjab FC at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Both games will kick off at 5 PM Indian Standard Time (IST) and will be televised live on DTH and the Facebook page of 1Sports.
All three teams are tied at the top of the table with 26 points each from 14 games.
Gokulam Kerala FC are top of the I-League table
Gokulam Kerala FC finished 5th in the regular league standings and looked unlikely to bounce back in the Championship round.
However, Vincenzo Alberto Annese's side had a turnaround of fortunes with two wins and a draw. They defeated RoundGlass Punjab FC and Mohammedan SC by 1-0 and 2-1 scorelines respectively and had a 1-1 draw with Real Kashmir FC.
The Malabarians will need just a win over TRAU in their final league game to win the I-League title for the first time in their short club history. They have already won the Durand Cup and the Kerala Premier League.
Churchill Brothers slip away in the I-League title race
Churchill Brothers finished the main round of fixtures at the top and went into the championship round as the favorites. However, three losses and a draw put the Red Machines on the backfoot as far as the championship race is concerned. They faced 2-1, 3-0 and 4-1 defeats to Real Kashmir FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Mohammedan SC respectively in the final round and only managed a 1-1 draw with TRAU.
Churchill Brothers are placed second in the championship round and will need to win their final round game against RoundGlass Punjab. Besides, the match between Gokulam Kerala FC and TRAU FC also needs to end in a draw for the Churchill Brothers to clinch the title.
TRAU FC leave it too late in the I-League
TRAU sneaked into the championship round after finishing sixth in the main round. The Manipuri side was 6 points short of the top spot after ten games.
Nandakumar Singh's side, led by Bidyasagar Singh, then turned their fortunes around in the championship round with three wins on the trot.
The Red Pythons defeated Mohammedan SC, Real Kashmir and RoundGlass Punjab with 4-0, 3-1 and 1-0 scorelines before drawing 1-1 with Churchill Brothers.
TRAU will need to defeat Gokulam Kerala FC in their final league game and hope that Churchill Brothers do not get all three points against RoundGlass Punjab FC in the other fixture.
I-League 2020-21 champions will play in the AFC Cup 2022
The 2020-21 I-League champions will get the chance to represent India in the AFC Cup 2022 in the South Asia group. The I-League champions will also be able to place bids to enter the Indian Super League in the 2021-22 season as per the agreement between AIFF, AFC and FSDL.