A spirited Indian side will face Afghanistan in the final group game of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
The match is a crucial game for both sides, with India just needing a draw to qualify for the third round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers. In contrast, Afghanistan needs a win to earn direct entry into the third round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers.
India will be high on confidence after their 2-0 win over Bangladesh. A brace from the talismanic captain, Sunil Chhetri, earned India’s first win of the qualifiers and ended their barren run. The victory pushed India above Afghanistan to 3rd place in Group E of the qualifiers. Coach Igor Stimac would expect more of the same from his boys against a formidable Afghanistan team.
On the other hand, Afghanistan is on the back of two disappointing results against Bangladesh and Oman. The much lower-ranked Bangladesh side held Afghanistan to a 1-1 draw, and Afghanistan tasted defeat against Oman, losing 2-1. Head coach Anoush Dastagir would want his side to get back to winning ways against India and seal their spot in the third round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Against Bangladesh, India was boosted by the return of Chinglensana Singh, who looked right at home alongside Sandesh Jhingan. Rahul Bheke is available for selection after his red card against Qatar. Rowllin Borges, however, remains a doubt for the crucial match with an injury. Glan Martins, who has been omnipresent on the field for India, is expected to start his third successive game. India does not have any other fresh injury concerns after the match against Bangladesh.
36-year-old Sunil Chhetri celebrated the 16th anniversary of his debut for the Indian National team just two days ago. The inspirational leader has been an ever-present player in the team. He once again showed his class, bagging a brace against Bangladesh to move up above Lionel Messi in the highest active goal scorers for the national side. India’s talisman will once again hold the key for India against Afghanistan. His touches, movement and finishing will be pivotal to India to get a result on Tuesday.
Brandon Fernandes put on a show against Bangladesh, which earned him widespread admiration. The Goan was instrumental in India’s 2-0 win with his touches and range of passing. He created a multitude of chances with his incisive passing and pinpoint set-pieces. He will be the creator-in-chief once again for India against Afghanistan. Brandon’s passes between lines and his through balls to Sunil Chhetri and Manvir Singh will be key for India to break down Afghanistan’s defence.
Chinglensana Singh impressed in India’s 2-0 win against Bangladesh. Although he was not challenged much in defence, his distribution from deep was what caught the eye. With the pace of Manvir and Liston, this particular trait will be crucial for India against Afghanistan to exploit the space behind the Afghani defence. His calmness and positioning alongside Sandesh Jhingan will be key to stop Afghani attacks at India’s goal.
Omran is one of Afghanistan’s key players. The 23-year old plays in Polish first league, Ekstraklasa, with Lechia Gdansk. The attacking youngster will pose a threat to the Indian defence.
Farshad Noor is one of the important players and the captain of Afghanistan. The midfielder is a product of the PSV youth academy. He has already scored for Afghanistan in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a 1-0 win against Bangladesh back in 2019.
Just like the reverse fixture, we can expect a tight contest between the neighbours. India’s win against Bangladesh will come as a welcome relief for them and give them the confidence going into the game against Afghanistan. Afghanistan, on the other hand, will have to look for a win to leapfrog India to the 3rd spot in Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The game might result in a draw or a narrow win for India.
Venue – Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Time – 7.30pm IST
Telecast – Starsports network, Disney Hostar and Jio TV.
India currently sits 3rd in Group E of the 2022 FIFA World cup qualifiers with 6 points and would be looking to finish their campaign on a high. Afghanistan, meanwhile, would want 3 points to earn direct entry into the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers. Either way, we are in for an enticing battle.
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