With a late equaliser coming from the right foot of Hossein Zamani, India hold Afghanistan all squares in the concluding fixture of FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers. However, Blue Tigers seal a position in the 3rd round of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 after a third position stand in group E behind Qatar and Oman; who have earned qualification for el Mundial.
Igor Stimac’s men locked horns with the Lions of Khorasan at Jasim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha, where the first half saw a little action and an unfortunate injury to Afghan skipper Farshad Noor that kept him away for the rest of the game. With 75 minutes on the clock, an outward curler from Md Ashique Kuruniyan was missed by keeper Ovays Azizi and found the back of the net after being deflected with his right foot.
Six minutes later, a defensive error from Rahul Bheke led Anoush Dastgir’s men find the equaliser, which remained the final score of the game. Towards the second half, there was some heat up with three bookings at different times, all for the Afghans. India’s Chinglensana Singh also saw a yellow earlier.
Let’s assess the performance of both sides on a scale of 1 to 10.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK) – 7.0
Indian shot-stopper was making huge impacts last night, and stating this will leave you in no wonder. His two unnatural saves, one in each half, definitely played a role in seeing Blue Tigers at a higher position on the table.
Rahul Bheke – 5.5
The goalscorer of the 2019 ISL finals was not as impressive as he was expected to be. He had a try at the goal, but it went above the bars. However, an error in keeping possession from the Mumbaikar led the foundation to a magical equaliser from Zamani.
Subhasish Bose – 6.5
The match did not see Bose making full runs, and he barely reached the attacking third he was supposed to. We didn’t see a 100% from the man.
Chinglensana Singh Konsham – 7.5
The 24-year-old Manipuri Center Back was at it, we can say. He continued his fantastic run of form and displayed yet again a brilliant show. He also made a couple of good dribbles past the Afghan midfield that appealed some severe threat.
Sandesh Jhingan – 6.5
We are used to seeing a different Sandesh Jhingan as compared to what we saw last night. He was often seen clearing the ball instead of passing them, and the match did not see him in the opposition’s box during set-pieces.
Glan Martins – 8.0
Has Igor found a midfield maestro? After a fantastic performance in ACL for FC Goa, the audience saw Glan commanding the game from defensive midfield for the national team throughout the campaign. No doubt he is the highest rated Indian baller from last night.
Manvir Singh – 6.5
A game that the ATKMB striker won’t rejoice thinking about: he was seen suffocated under the burden of number nine. However, he made some promising runs and attempted a header, it far from the stats that the game asked of him. It is worth mentioning that Gaffer Stimac has trusted Manvir more than anyone else, and he has started a notable 13 times under him. So it’s high time for him to showcase what he has got.
Brandon Fernandes – 7.0
Despite one appreciable free-kick, Brandon was not seen impressing much on the field. It felt like he was still trying to find the old self.
Sunil Chhetri (C) – 7.0
The captain was seen covering a lot of space in the opposition half and guiding the young wingers into the box. He also had a shot at the goal that came from a corner. However, the nation only waited to see his 75th international goal, and he was subbed off at the 68th minute.
Suresh Singh Wangjam – 7.0
The young gun was sweating it out on the right but seldom got a fruit. Still, he was a man whom the Afghans were seen very carefully dealing with.
Muhammed Ashique Kuruniyan – 7.5
His cross from the left forced Azizi to an own goal, but the display was not up to the mark. The match saw him bypassing the opposition midfield at times, but that was not enough to script his name on the scoresheet.
Popularly known as Apuia, the Northeast United man spent half an hour on the field. He was able to make the commentators take his name often. However, we believe he could have delivered more.
Liston Colaco 6.5
The match saw him trying well, but but we didn’t see what he was doing for his club this season.
Bipin Singh 5.5
Not much impact except barely one or two touches in last 10 minutes.
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