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INDIAN I-LEAGUE

2017/2018 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
2 NEROCA FC 9 5 4 32
3 Mohun Bagan 8 7 3 31
4 East Bengal 8 7 3 31
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The I-League's four-horse race

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Aizawl can't wait for Sunday's Northeast Derby

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Five surprise picks in India's probables for four-nation tournament

What do two near-rookies, one Spain-trained striker from Kerala, one of the best performers in domestic football over the past season, and a goalkeeper who has effectively just had 172 minutes of competitive football have in common?

They are five of the left-of-field picks by India coach Stephen Constantine, who announced a 30-member squad of probables for the four-nation international tournament -- featuring hosts India, Kenya, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei -- that Mumbai is likely to host in June,...

The other big I-League story: decline of the Kolkata giants

At the end of the I-League season, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal had identical figures of eight wins, seven draws and 31 points. They finished below Minerva and NEROCA.
At the end of the I-League season, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal had identical figures of eight wins, seven draws and 31 points. They finished below Minerva and NEROCA.

When Bengaluru FC (BFC) joined the Indian Super League (ISL) fold in 2017, most people believed that the 2017-18 I-League would be a virtual shoot-out between the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.

With all Goan clubs barring Churchill Brothers out of the equation following withdrawals in 2016-17, it seemed Aizawl FC's fairy-tale run to the title would be an exception and the dominance of the Kolkata clubs would resume. After all, these teams had won six of the first eight National Football...

How the I-League's dramatic final day unfolded

A first-half goal from William Opoku earned Minerva a 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers, helping them seal the title on the final day.
Minerva celebrate winning the I-League

With four teams in title contention at the start Thursday, the final day of the I-League was not short on drama. Here's a recap of how things unfolded.

3pm: Kick-off

Minerva began in pole position, their 32 points putting them ahead of NEROCA (31), Mohun Bagan (30) and East Bengal (30). It meant they just needed a win to put the other three out of contention.

3:15pm: Opoku puts Minerva ahead

William Opoku scored the first goal of the day in Panchkula, taking advantage of some slack defending from...

Advantage Minerva but 'predicting is difficult'

Less than a year ago, they were battling to avoid the wooden spoon. Now, Minerva Punjab go into the final round as favourites to win the I-League

The I-League season will reach its thrilling climax on Thursday, with three matches kicking off simultaneously and four teams in all -- Minerva Punjab, NEROCA, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan -- in with a chance of winning the title. ESPN asked five current and former footballers, including national captain Sunil Chhetri, who they think might breast the tape on Thursday afternoon.

Who holds the edge?

Sunil Chhetri (98 caps for India, four I-League titles as player): I think East Bengal had the advantage...

Minerva ahead but title race alive till last kick of season

Less than a year ago, they were battling to avoid the wooden spoon. Now, Minerva Punjab go into the final round as favourites to win the I-League

East Bengal played out a thrilling 2-2 draw away to Shillong Lajong on Monday, keeping them in fourth place in the I-League -- level on points with Mohun Bagan (30) but still behind due to an inferior head-to-head.

This means four teams are still in with a shout of winning the I-League on March 8 -- easily the most going into the final day of the national league. (In 2004-05, East Bengal, Dempo and Sporting Clube de Goa all entered the last day with a mathematical chance of clinching the title.)...