India’s Heroic Efforts Hold Asian Champions Qatar at Bay in Their Own Den, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2022 AFC Group E Football Match Ends in a Draw

Ashwani Mishra

India vs Qatar, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2022 AFC Group E Football Match Result: The Indian football team produced a result even their most ardent fan would not have comprehended – a 0-0 draw against Asian champions Qatar in Doha. The draw gave India their first point in the 2022 World Cup qualification, and with games coming up against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, things look a bit positive. But it was not the case from the beginning for Igor Stimac’s men when they blew away a one-nil lead to go down against Oman at home. Many thought Qatar would steamroll against the Indians ranked way below them in the FIFA rankings. But, the Blue Tigers produced a splendid display on the field which sparked buoyant celebrations in the end.

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Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the star of the match for the visitors as he produced numerous saves throughout the game. In the absence of Sunil Chettri who missed the game through sickness, Sandhu wore the captain armband. If ever India needed their skipper of the day to rise to the occasion, it was today, and Sandhu showed his qualities at the highest level. The way he handled the crosses particularly from his Qatari counterpart Hassan Al-Haydos was truly remarkable. Mandar Dessai was picked up for the left-back role, and it proved to be a masterstroke by Igor Stimac. The FC Goa player was unbeatable on the wings for India and complemented the two centre-backs – Adil Khan and Sandesh Jhingan well.

Attack was probably not the order of the day for the visitors, but Udanta Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad were a livewire on the field. The two linked up well and created a few openings in the second half for the Indian though it was clearly a point that they were playing for. Going forward Igor Stimac can work on how to get his forwards into the game more, but they look composed with their passing which is quite evident. The result also gives the Blue Tigers belief that they can compete with the best in the world if they follow the instructions of their Croatian tactician who looks quite confident about his abilities. On a whole, the draw is what Indian football was craving for a quite a few months – a moment of high to lift the pall of gloom that had surrounded the team since the painful exit in the Asian Cup.

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