New Delhi: Teams such as FC Goa might be struggling at the bottom of the heap but their semifinal prospects are still not completely over in the ongoing third edition of Indian Super League football.
FC Goa's 0-2 loss against Delhi Dynamos at Fatorda yesterday might have further dented the chances the for Zico-managed club to make it to the knock-out stage of ISL 2016. Last year's finalist FC Goa are currently reeling at the bottom of the table with just four points from seven matches.
However, Zico may have reasons to keep believing that his team's chances are still not over.
"We are still breathing, and as long as we are breathing, there is hope," said Zico, looking at the points table where the leader (ATK), with just eight points difference (at 12 points), are not very far to catch up even for the bottom placed FC Goa.
Zico knows he now need five wins from the second half of seven matches in the remaining ISL 2016 league journey, or 15 points to qualify for the knock-out stage.
"Twenty points would be good enough to qualify this season, but going by the other (team) results so far, it can even be less than that," said Zico.
The FC Goa coach probably is hinting towards the number of draws the season has seen in the first seven rounds which may come to the Gaurs' aid.
In ISL 2014, both finalists Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata qualified for the semi-finals with 19 points each, while in ISL 2015 the stakes went a little up with Delhi Dynamos and Chennaiyin FC needing 22 points each to make it to the knock-out stage.
Last season the competition was so intense that NorthEast United FC, despite having 20 points, couldn't qualify for the semi-finals.
But it's turning out to be different this season. Calculations indicate ISL 2016 season will see any team with 18 points and above would have chances to make semis.
Trends at the ISL 2016 half way stage suggest, there are a lot less results than the first two editions. It has already witnessed 10 draws out of 27 matches played so far, thus indicating that this season is turning out to be very tight and would mean even the top placed teams on points table cannot take their position lightly.
An FC Pune City at 7th place in the standing today with 6 points or bottom placed FC Goa with 4 points are just two quick wins away to displace any of the top four clubs.
Another interesting trend noticed this season of ISL so far is that the away teams are gathering more wins than the home team. For the first time in ISL history, teams are winning more away from home.