The second phase of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season will kick off on January 10 and will be played over a 55-day period, tournament organisers Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) announced on Tuesday.
Defending champions Mumbai City FC are set to enter Christmas as league leaders but they are being pressured closely by Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC -- two teams desperate for their first semi-finals appearance along with two-time winners Chennaiyin FC.
The first leg will end on December 30 with Chennaiyin FC taking on Bengaluru FC.
With only eight points separating the bottom-placed team from the top four, clubs will have enough opportunities to change the outcome of their season.
Come January, the transfer market will also open and provide clubs an opportunity to add more firepower in their ranks to mount a challenge for both the League Shield and the ISL trophy.
The stage for Indian football's oldest and grandest rivalry -- the return leg of the Kolkata derby between ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal -- is set for January 29 at the PJN Stadium here.
On the final night of the league phase, FC Goa welcome Kerala Blasters FC at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on March 5.
All 55 league games in the second half of the season will kick off at 7:30PM.