India are unlikely to make it to their first World Cup finals this time around but a 0-0 draw in Doha against Asian champions Qatar in 2022 qualifying on Tuesday has filled them with pride. Thanks to all who believe & support us all.
"This result will help us to keep grow as a team and as a nation". Coupled with Sandesh Jhingan and Adil Khan's partnership facing AFC Asian Cup Golden Boot victor, Almoez Ali, the Indian goalkeeper's job became easier.
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. Udanta Singh was the only one who came close to scoring, registering India's two shots in the entire match.
In their previous head-to-head matches, Qatar has won three out of four official matches in their encounter against rival India with one game ending in a draw.
Qatar will meet Bangladesh in an away match on October 10.
Qatar took a dozen of shots and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but India's skipper Gurpreet saved nearly everything that came his way. Qatar mostly had to go for strikes from far off. We have played just two matches, and we have played well, that too against two powerful teams.
In the second half, Qatar continued to attack but the Indians kept them at bay. And it was no surprise that Qatar's first real chance came from a set-piece. The home side had at least half a dozen on-target shots and seven corners in the first half while India did not have any.
World Cup Qualifiers India vs Qatar match in action
The attacking moves saw India win a few corners and one such corner gave them the ideal chance to take a shock lead.
Earlier, in the first half, Sandhu kept out tries from Almoez, Al Haydos, while Abdulaziz Hatim shot over the bar in the 13th minute after a defensive lapse.
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.
Sahal Samad was brilliant in the midfield as he, on a few occasions, got the better of his opponents and sent fine passes to the likes of Udanta Singh.
Defending deep in their own half meant India gave away a number of corners in the opening period. From Anirudh Thapa's corner, Sahal did well to keep his volley down, but his shot missed the goal by some distance.
Their problems mounted even before kick-off as skipper Sunil Chhetri was ruled out due to fever while Ashique Kuruniyan, their star from the opening group defeat to Oman, suffered a niggle keeping him out as well.
Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez, on the other hand, made two changes to the line-up that started against Afghanistan.
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