India steal a point away from Asian champions Qatar

  • India steal a point away from Asian champions Qatar

India steal a point away from Asian champions Qatar

Indian football team surprised everyone with their gritty performance vs Qatar in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as they earned a hard-fought draw.

The Asian champions were dominant with the ball throughout yesterday's match. However, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, captaining India in the absence of the indisposed Sunil Chhetri, led their effort with a sterling performance between the posts, especially pulling his weight in a cracking first-half performance that kept the Asian champions at bay.

Sandhu looked dejected and had tears in his eyes at the end of the match after helping India walk away with a point.

India's solid defending resulted in the Qataris being restricted to trying their luck from the distance, forcing Gurpreet to pull off a few smart saves.

However, the Indian defence kept its shape well and for the most part denied Qatar any chance to take a shot from close.

Qatar, ranked 62nd in the world, had more than two dozen shots on Indian goal out of which at least a dozen were on target.

Sahal Samad and Udanta Singh had two gilt edged to score for the away side in the second period but both missed by a whisker as the Indian supporters at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium egged the team on raucously.

The Indian custodian kept the hosts at bay by anticipating their moves to perfection and averting any danger with quick interceptions.

World Cup Qualifiers India vs Qatar match in action
World Cup Qualifiers India vs Qatar match in action

In the first half, India expectedly sat deep and defended their citadel.

And though the dying minutes of the game saw Qatar throw the kitchen sink at India in search of the victor, the Blue Tigers held their ground to walk away with a point from the home of the Asian champions.

However, the Indian defense and keeper which stood up to the test for most part of the match nearly caved in.

The Qatari team: Saad Sheeb, Meshal Barsham, Mohammed Al-Bakri, Pedro, Salem Al-Hajri, Tareq Salman, Abdulkarim Hassan, Boualem Khoukhi, Hassan Al-Haydos, Akram Afif, Abdulaziz Al-Ansari, Hashim Ali, Bassam Al-Rawl, Assim Madibo, Almoez Ali, Karim Boudiaf, Ali Afif, Musaab Keder, Ahmed Fathy, Yousef Abdelrazzaq, Al Mahdi Ali, Ahmed Alaaeldin, Abdulaziz Hatim, Abdullah Abdul Salam.

Sandhu was a busy man as he was called into action several times but he remained unbeaten.

In the first half he made many saves but in the 25th minute India defense nearly caved in as Haydos curling corner towards the far post saw an unmarked Boualem Khoukhi heading it wide much to the relief of the Indian supporters.

Qatar captain Hassan Al-Haydos had two shots early into the match but Sandhu was upto the task, including the brilliant finger-tip save in the 20th minute.

The result means that India now have their first point in Group E heading into their next qualifying match at home to neighbours Bangladesh next month.