India captain Sunil Chhetri is extremely proud of the way the Blue Tigers fought valiantly against Qatar and held the Asian champions to a goalless draw in the second match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 joint qualifiers Round 2 in Doha. Chhetri lauded the team, saying “that is my team and those are my boys”. He missed the match on Tuesday due to a viral infection. “Dear India, THAT is my team and THOSE are my boys! Cannot describe how proud I am at this moment. Not a big result for the table, but in terms of a fight, as big as it can get. Huge credit to the coaching staff and the dressing room. #QATIND,” Chhetri tweeted.Also Read - India vs Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu Stars as Sunil Chhetri-Less Blue Tigers Stun Qatar to Take Crucial Away Point
What makes this result remarkable is the fact that on the FIFA rankings, India is at 103rd position while Qatar is on 62nd. Blue Tigers coach Igor Stimac made four changes to the lineup. From the beginning of the match, Qatar dominated the ball possession and kept on making aggressive moves on the field to trouble the Indian defenders and goalkeeper. Also Read - Sunil Chhetri's Goal Goes in Vain as Oman Beat India 2-1
India was willing to stay back and absorb the pressure. Qatar came out all guns blazing and they created many opportunities but skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu defied and frustrated the Asian Champions. Also Read - Happy Birthday Sunil Chhetri: Twitter Pours in With Birthday Wishes For Indian Football 'Captain' | SEE POSTS
Twice in the first 10 minutes, Gurpreet denied his rival counterpart Hassan Al Heidos, thus growing in confidence, and transporting it to the entire team, who wasn’t willing to give away an inch.
In fact, the Indians were stubborn. The Qataris enjoyed the possession, but timely interceptions, tackles, and with one backing the other and defending as a team, Qatar weren’t able to break free.
Blue Tigers got a chance to score a goal in the 51st minute as Udanta Singh received the ball from Abdul Sahal, outpacing Qatar’s Abdelkarim Hasan and he tried to find Manvir Singh, who was backing up but it was a bit too long for the latter and the opportunity could not be seized.
Six minutes later, Sahal breached the Qatari midfield once again but Assim Madibo played foul, thus earning a yellow card. At the hour mark, India came close once again, but Sahal’s left-footed volley off an Anirudh Thapa corner missed the goalpost narrowly.
With this result, India move to one point from two matches with Qatar currently topping the group with four points from the same number of games.
The Blue Tigers had lost their first match against Oman 1-2.
India will next play Bangladesh in their next match on October 15 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata.