A few clubs have qualified in the top-four consistently over the past editions.
The Indian Super League (ISL) has been a revolution in Indian football. The competition brought investment, developed infrastructure and helped the beautiful game grow in India. The level of competition has always been high between the clubs. All these clubs try their best to make it past the league stages and qualify for the playoff stages.
There have been a few regular teams who have qualified into the playoffs. However, there can also be a surprise entrant on occasions. Although it’s worth noting that teams like Odisha FC, Hyderabad FC, Jamshedpur FC and SC East Bengal have never qualified into the playoffs as they came into the league much later than the others.
Here is a ranking of all the clubs that have qualified into the ISL playoffs the most number of times.
ATK Mohun Bagan – 1
ATK Mohun Bagan made their first appearance in the Indian Super League during the 2020/21 campaign. The outfit came into existence after erstwhile ATK FC and Mohun Bagan merged to create a new entity. The outfit consists of top players from the ATK squad which was very successful in the past, as they won the ISL in 2019/20. Players Roy Krishna, David Williams and Manvir Singh helped the Mariners qualify into the playoffs but they lost in the final to Mumbai City FC.
FC Pune City – 1
FC Pune City managed to qualify into the Indian Super League playoffs during the 2017/18 season. Unfortunately, that was the only occasion the now defunct club managed to go past the league stages. Their ISL stint was underwhelming to say the least, as they ceased operations after the 2018/19 season.
Kerala Blasters – 2
Kerala Blasters have qualified into the Indian Super League playoffs twice since the league’s inception. This record is definitely underwhelming for a club of their stature. The southerners are supported passionately by their fans who deserve more to cheer about. The outfit managed to qualify into the playoffs during the 2014 and 2016 season and lost in the final against ATK on both occasions.
Delhi Dynamos FC – 2
Delhi Dynamos recorded two playoff appearances during their time in the Indian Super League. The club ceased to exist ahead of the 2019/20 season as the owners decided to shift base out of New Delhi. This led to the emergence of Odisha FC, who have not qualified into the playoffs in the two seasons since its birth. Delhi Dynamos managed to finish in the top four twice, in the 2015 and 2016 editions and lost in the semi-finals on both occasions.
NorthEast United – 2
NorthEast United are gradually improving their performance in the league stages. The club have competed for a playoff finish regularly in recent years. Their two playoff appearances came during the 2018/19 and 2020/21 seasons. The Highlanders are yet to appear in an Indian Super League final but the signs are encouraging for their supporters.
Bengaluru FC – 3
Bengaluru FC joined the Indian Super League ahead of the 2017/18 season. Their inclusion expanded the league into a contest between nine teams. The Blues were a strong side from the get go and qualified into the playoffs on the first three occasions. However, they could not finish in the top four during the 2020/21 season.
Mumbai City FC – 3
Mumbai City are three-time playoff entrants and one-time winners of the Indian Super League trophy. The Islanders have gone through a major overhaul since City Football Group became the majority stakeholder. The Islanders secured the playoffs third time during the 2020/21 season by finishing as table toppers. They are surely going to challenge for the top-four spots more consistently in the future.
ATK – 4
Heading into the top-three teams with the most number of Indian Super League playoff appearances, ATK have managed four appearances in it. The outfit secured qualification during the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019/20 editions. They won the final on three occasions as well, becoming the most decorated club in the ISL.
Chennaiyin FC – 4
Chennaiyin FC have appeared in the Indian Super League playoff stages on four occasions too. The Marina Machans have a decent history in the competition which stands in contrast to their recent performance. They have qualified into the playoffs during the 2014, 2015, 2017/18 and 2019/20 seasons but looked really lethargic in 2020/21. They are two-time winners of the competition in 2015 and 2017/18.
FC Goa – 6
FC Goa have the most number of Indian Super League playoff appearances in the past seven editions. The Gaurs have been a strong side in all of the campaigns. Expectedly, they have qualified six times out of seven into the playoffs, with the 2016 campaign the only exception. However, they are yet to lift the ISL title as they have lost in the final on two occasions and exited in the semi-finals the rest of the time.