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Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history

Published at :April 12, 2024 at 4:58 PM
Modified at :April 12, 2024 at 4:58 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL media)

Keshava Verma

ISL playoffs have always produced thrilling matches.

For the past 10 years, the Indian Super League (ISL) has been the hub of club football in India, boasting world-class talents both from abroad, as well as domestically. Since its inaugural season in 2014, ISL has evolved into a fiercely competitive arena where securing a spot in the playoffs is a significant achievement for any team.

Over the past decade, certain franchises have consistently showcased their prowess, becoming perennial contenders for the coveted playoff positions. These elite teams have demonstrated unwavering commitment and resilience, carving out a legacy of success in the league. With an impressive track record spanning 10 seasons, they stand as the epitome of excellence in Indian football.

Today, we have prepared a list of five such highly acclaimed teams, as we take a journey back into recalling their incredible feat.

5. Atletico de Kolkata (4 playoff qualifications, 3 ISL titles)

Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history.
ATK players celebrating. (Image Source: The Statesman)

The first-ever ISL champions, and still the team with the most ISL titles, Atletico de Kolkata, in its solitary identity, was and always will be a special team. Kolkata has always been a hub of Indian football, and ATK was the perfect fuel for lighting fire amongst the passionate people of Kolkata. 

ATK qualified for the playoffs on four different occasions, out of which they won the competition thrice, before entering into a merger with Mohun Bagan in 2020. 

4. Kerala Blasters FC (5 playoff qualifications, 0 ISL titles)

Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history.
Kerala Blasters FC squad for 2023-24. (Image Source: ISL)

Kerala Blasters has forever been a relentless force in the ISL. Right from the time of its formation back in 2014, the club has given its fans plenty of unforgettable and joyous moments. The Tuskers breed one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases not just in India, but in all of Asia. 

Kerala Blasters have qualified for the playoffs on five different occasions, with their latest qualification coming in this edition, where under the guidance of Ivan Vukamanovic, Kerala have performed extraordinarily well amidst all of their injury crisis.  

3. Mumbai City FC (5 playoff qualifications, 1 ISL title)

Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history.
Mumbai City FC celebrates a goal. (Image Source: ISL)

Being one of the foundational teams of the ISL, Mumbai City FC took some time to set their foot in the league, finishing seventh and sixth in the two initial seasons. On 28 November 2019, it was revealed that City Football Group, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi United Group, had bought a 65% stake in the club, adding Mumbai City FC as the eighth club under the CFG.

Since then, Mumbai City FC have been a major force and one of the most consistent sides in the ISL. In the 2020-21 season, their first complete campaign under the CFG, Mumbai City FC did the league double, by winning both the Shield as well as the Trophy. The Islanders were crowned champions yet again in 2022-23. In the ongoing season, Mumbai City FC have broken the record for the most points accumulated in a single ISL campaign, and need just a solitary point to be crowned Champions of the league once again. 

2. Chennaiyin FC (5 playoff qualifications, 2 ISL titles)

Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history.
Chennaiyin FC players before Jamshedpur FC clash. (Image Source: ISL)

After a dramatic end to their 2023-24 league stages, that saw the Marina Machans rise from the depth of ruins, Chennaiyin FC have included themselves in this prestigious list. After a terrible start to the season, the club found itself 10th on the table after 13 games and were in terrible form. But in vintage Owen Coyle fashion, the Blues turned their fortunes around, picking 15 points in the next eight fixtures to book a place in the playoffs.

The other four qualifications came in 2014, 2015, 2017-18 and 2019-20, respectively. Chennaiyin FC have also won the ISL title on two occasions, the first in 2015 against Goa at the Fatorda, and then against Bengaluru in 2017-18. 

1 . FC Goa (7 playoff qualifications, 1 Shield)

Top 5 teams with most appearances in ISL playoffs history.
FC Goa pose for a team photo. (Image Source: ISL)

In 10 years of ISL football, if there has been one team that has constantly given joy and happiness to not only its fans but the entire footballing fraternity, it is FC Goa. The team in orange has forever been the most fierce and entertaining side in ISL history, one that is known for its unique style of play, and for nurturing some of the biggest talents this league has ever seen. 

Having gained seven qualifications in 10 seasons shows how consistent Goa have been, and how well the management has operated in enabling a smooth transition at the club. They qualified for the playoffs in 2014, 2015, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2023-24. Despite having never won the ISL title or Trophy to be precise, the Gaurs won the first-ever ISL Shield in the 2019-20 season. 

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