Match Report – India reserves 3rd spot in the group after a stalemate with Afghanistan


India and Afghanistan locked their horns against each other in a cracker of a clash in the joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers. India stood 3rd and Afghanistan stood 4th before the game started. All India needed was a draw whereas Afghanistan had to win the game to at least make it to the 2023 Asian Cup as they have never tasted Asian Cup before in their footballing history.

Let’s analyse how the game went and have a look at the match report.

India kicks off the game

India kicked off the game as the toss went in favour of Afghanistan. A balanced play was showcased by the Indian contingent and it was a quick start as, at the 43rd second of the game, Brandon gave a fine long diagonal pass to Manvir to start things off on a positive note.

Afghanistan had no plan of settling down and settling back as they started off on a front foot as and when they got the ball in their possession. Afghanistan enjoyed the possession for some minutes and India weren’t pressing high against them. Each time a build-up from Afghanistan gets blocked, India looked to transmogrify that by trying to build their attacks from the back. Chinglensana Singh was the main man in connecting India’s defence with their midfield.

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As the game progressed, Afghanistan started to look more and more positive in the final third as they were easily getting into the groove. The Indian backline was doing a good job in negating their transmogrification to a conversion. India, much like their opponents, were looking to attack at each and every chance they got but India’s passing turned out to be a bit sloppy, it was easily predictable and interceptable by the Afghanistan defence. Whereas Afghanistan was putting on a good one-touch passing show.

As the 10th minute neared, Suresh Singh and Manvir Singh built an attack through the right flank and won India their first corner. Jhingan’s header was blocked. Soon after this, Suresh and Manvir built an attack through the right flank and won a corner for India. The header from Jhingan through it was blocked and followed by that was some mishaps at the Afghani side. Sunil Chhetri got an amazing chance. Although it was not an easy finish, he managed to hit the target and the goalkeeper parried it away. The corner that followed wasn’t converted by India.

From the 10th minute till the 20th minute, both the teams were a bit silent. Either side was holding the ball as much as possible. At the 15th minute, Igor Štimac found himself in the book with a yellow card to his name. And followed by that a shot was wasted by the Afghanis.

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As the match progressed after the 20th minute, India looked to play a bit more on the front foot. A long diagonal pass from Brandon, again, to Chhetri was defended by Masih Saighani. The corner that followed was wasted by India.

Just before the water break at the 25th minute, a good build-up was showcased from the Indian contingent but Afghanistan defended well. The same was replicated by the latter at the former’s final third, which also led to negation.

Towards the 30th minute of the game, India built up another attack through their right flank with Chinglensana Singh at the core of it. Albeit, it didn’t get converted.

After the 30th minute, Farshad Noor, the Afghani captain, was subbed off of a potential injury. Followed by this, Afghanistan brought about a good counterattack that took India quite a bit of a tussle to negate it. Afghanistan kept the ball slightly better in these minutes.

At the 33rd minute, Chinglensana Singh was booked for a clumsy challenge. Afghanistan got a free-kick and Gurpreet Singh wasn’t tested as yet in the game. The free-kick was blocked by the wall; nevertheless, Rahul Bheke gave away another free-kick. India was sensing some pressure as they gave away back-to-back silly fouls towards the 40th minute of the game.

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At the 41st minute, Omid Popalzay came up with a fine effort at the goal after connecting with Sharifi and Gurpreet Singh was brought into action. Followed by this, at the 43rd minute, Suresh Singh built up another good play through the right flank but narrowly missed out on the through pass to Manvir Singh.

The game went on to halftime with the scores staying nil-nil. Both teams put out the same sort of play but Afghanistan’s brand of football looked to be a bit more impressive.

Afghanistan kicks off the second-half

Both the teams start off their game on a front foot with evidently different intentions. Both the teams were defending well, as well, and they were initiating their attacks through their centre and right flanks.

India wasted a corner soon after the 50th minute. At the 56th minute, an amazing shot was launched by the Afghani Number 19, but Gurpreet was well on his toes to catch that. Afghanistan was looking more strong through their right flank and India had to put up quite a tussle every time to negate their build-ups.

At the 60th minute, Brandon Fernandes launched a beautiful free-kick to the final third, but Amiri intercepted well to block Manvir Singh’s anticipations. Brandon Fernandes was soon subbed off at the 62nd minute with Lalengmawia (Apuia) coming onto the pitch.

Into the 65th minute of the game, both the teams were level pegging, and one side had to find a breakthrough to change the momentum of the game. Afghanistan was doing a better job on their front foot, passing the ball with a lot more positive intent. Zohib Amiri was shown a yellow card at the 66th minute as he clumsily blocked a brilliant build-up from Ashique Kuruniyan. India won a free-kick and Chhetri was at the core to take it. Chhetri launched the ball into the goal, but it went just over the bar. Soon after, at the 68th minute, Chhetri was substituted by Liston Colaco, and the captain’s armband was donned by Gurpreet Singh till the end of the game.

At the 70th minute, Liston Colaco almost provided an immaculate assist, it was a good build-up by India through their right flank. Afghanistan didn’t have the intention of settling for a draw for sure. The wunderkind, Hossein Zamani came on at the 72nd minute of the game with Ahmed Najem going off.

India found their breakthrough at the 74th as a cross from Ashique Kuruniyan to Ovays Azizi’s hands were sent into the goalpost by virtue of his butterfingers. The momentum evidently shifted immediately as India were leading by a one-goal margin.

Followed by this was another immaculate build-up from India at the 78th minute of the game. The ball went for goal but was denied by the linesman as the ball had gone out of the line from Ashique Kuruniyan’s disposal before crossing. Kuruniyan came off of an injury and got replaced by Bipin Singh at the 80th minute.

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At the 82nd minute of the game, the wunderkind Hossein Zamani sent off an immaculate curler into the net and got Afghanistan back to level pegging.

Amir Sharifi and Omid Popalzay were subbed at the 85th minute, and both the teams were seen going neck-to-neck in the last 10 minutes of the game.

As the whistle blew, the scores were level and the result was in favour of India. India remained at the 3rd position in the group and Afghanistan at 4th. Looking at the stats, the game was pretty even throughout and the match ended with a fair result.

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