Sunday, 22 September, 2019

India coach Stimac: 'More than happy to get a point against Qatar'

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu Praises Indian Football Team After Tie Encounter in FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers Says ‘Everyone Played Their Hearts Out Against Qatar Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Shannon Reynolds | 11 September, 2019, 13:40

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who was unbeatable under the bar as India held Qatar to a goal-less draw in the second match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 joint qualifiers Round 2, is extremely proud of the way the team performed and gave their all against the Asian champions.

Sans the services of talisman Sunil Chhetri who was indisposed, Gurpreet led the Indian team who are 41 rungs below Qatar in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings. Sandhu tweeted after the match, adding that he hoped the result would inspire them against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the other teams in Group E, both of whom are ranked even lower than India.

The Oman result was too harsh on the Blue Tigers, given how they had taken the attack to Erwin Koeman's side and seemed deserved winners until Al Mandhar Rabia shattered Indian hearts with a late brace.

Beating Felix Sanchez's team, ranked 62 in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, seems like an insurmountable task but India have all the necessary ingredients to hurt any top-quality side if they stick to their guns.

India had nearly seen the game home, and with a couple of late flourishes from defence, they could celebrate a famous point in one of their toughest matches on the road to World Cup qualification.

Their absentees also meant head coach Igor Stimac was forced into making changes as Nikhil Poojary, Mandar Rao Desai, Sahal Abdul Samad and Manvir Singh came into the starting XI to replace Chhetri, Kuruniyan, Brandon Fernandes and Subhasish Bose.

"Our performance against Qatar is an invitation to fans for our next home game".

"Qatar had more chances than us".

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They have had most of the ball and all the big chances while India have not even had a shot at the Qatari goal in the first half.

The Blue Tigers had lost their first match against Oman 1-2.

However, the Indian defense and keeper which stood up to the test for most part of the match nearly caved in. A move between AnirudhThapa and Udanta Singh, saw the last named shot going inches over the crossbar.

Skipper Hassan Al-Haydos troubled right-back Rahul Bheke with his darting runs and powerful crosses, while Gurpreet was a busy man in the Indian goal.

That was one of the few moments Sandhu was beaten.

With 25 minutes on the clock, an Al-Haydos corner was flicked on by Poojary only to find an unmarked Boualem Khoukhi on the far post.

The side next take on Bangladesh at the colossal Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on October 15.

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