India held on till the last minute in an epic encounter against Qatar in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Doha's Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. Ending as a 0-0 draw, the Blue Tigers were second-best in terms of statistics, but put in a terrific defensive display to hold the 2019 AFC Asian Cup champions. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the hero, putting in multiple saves to deny the hosts from taking the lead. The Bengaluru mann was equally supported in defense by Sandesh Jhingan and Adil Khan. Get the highlights of Qatar vs India here.
(REPORT | FOOTBALL NEWS)
Qatar 0-0 India
23:54 hrs IST: FT' The whistle goes! A big draw for India. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu deserves all the credit for making multiple saves, supported by Adil Khan and Sandesh Jhingan. A wasteful display by Qatar!
23:52 hrs IST: 93:16' Salman attempts a long ranger but it goes wide.
23:50 hrs IST: 91:17' Substitution for India, Gahlot comes in for Thapa. Defender for a midfielder. Also four minutes have been added.
23:49 hrs IST: 89:17'India lose the ball once again. Qatar recyle, and begin an attack. A good cross by Hassan towards the far post, but Gurpreet collects it.
23:46 hrs IST: 85:00' 5 minutes to go! India edge closer to a lucky draw!
23:44 hrs IST: 84:42' CLOSSSEE!!! GURPREET AT HIS FINEST!!
Hassan puts in a long ranger, Gurpreet saves it. The rebound hits the crossbar and then again it goes wide. SAVED!
23:41 hrs IST: 81:10' UDANTAAAA!!!!! What a move by Udanta and Thapa. Udanta fights off a defender and passes it to Thapa. Thapa creates a magical one-two with him in a crowded Qatari box, but Udanta shoots it wide. Inches! That could have been India's winner.
23:39 hrs IST: 79:39' AL HAYDOSSS!!
The Qatar captain receiving the ball and has enough space to score a goal from inside the box, but he shoots it straight at Gurpreet.
23:38 hrs IST: 78:47' A HEADER!! A Qatari player receives a cross from the right flank and is free. But he heads it way too high!
23:34 hrs IST: 75:00' Substitution for India. Rai comes in for Sahal.
23:32 hrs IST: 71:44' Al Haydos puts in a short corner in what is also the 12th one of the game. Qatar begin their passes and stretch the Indian defence once again.
23:31 hrs IST: 70:00' 70 minutes and India still hold on! Can we expect a surprise result? Or some more action is yet to come?
23:29 hrs IST: 68:02' Jhingan is being treated by India's medical but he looks alright. He has hurt his ankle and shoulder due to a foul by Ali.
23:28 hrs IST: 67:28 Substitution for India. Brandon comes in for Nikhil.
23:26 hrs IST: 65:00' SAHAL!!!
India get their first corner of the game. Thapa delivers, and there are plenty of Indian players in the box. The ball falls for Sahal on the edge of Qatar's box, and he shoots it wide.
23:24 hrs IST: 63:53' Foul by Hassan. He shoulder pushed Udanta near Qatar's corner flag.
23:22 hrs IST: 61:14' Almoez goes down outside the Indian box. A foul by Dessai. Freekick to Qatar.
23:30 hrs IST: 60:10' Substitution for Qatar. Ismaeel replaces Youssef.
23:18 hrs IST: 56:28' FOUL!!
Sahal tried to create a counter-attack for India, but Madibo slid and committed a foul. Yellow card to the Qatari.
23:17 hrs IST: 56:20' AL HAYDOSSS!!!
A piledriver of a freekick from the Qatar captain, with Gurpreet putting in a diving save and clearing it out of his box.
23:16 hrs IST: 55:17' Al Haydos is down. Yellow card for Rowllin Borges, who brings down the Qatar captain at the edge of his box. Free kick to Qatar in a dangerous area. Meanwhile, substitutes of both sides are warming up on the sidelines. Reinforcements incoming!
23:13 hrs IST: 52:00' GREAT DEFENDING ONCE AGAIN!! Qatar create chaos once again in the Indian penalty box, and out of nowhere, Jhingan comes to his side's rescue with a brilliant interception! A goal-saving tackle!
23:11 hrs IST: 51:07' UDANTAAA!!!
That was India's first shot of the match! Sahal dribbles past few Qatari players and puts in a through ball for Qatar, who races towards the box but shoots it wide.
23:07 hrs IST: 47:58' STATS:
Shots Taken - Qatar 14-0 India
23:04 hrs IST: The referee blows his whistle for the second half! Can India hold on and maybe grab an early goal?
22:57 hrs IST: HT' Gurpreet has been splendid in the first half. He has rescued India multiple times, with some good saves. Also, Jhingan and Adil have complemented him well with some good interceptions.
22:48 hrs IST: HT' The referee blows his whistle for halftime. What an amazing defensive display by India. Qatar tried their best and wanted to finish their first half with a goal atleast but Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu performed heroicly!
22:48 hrs IST: 46:39' THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 1-0! Abdul receives a pass right in front of goal and puts in a lunging shot, with the ball rushing past Gurpreet and two Qatari forwards.
22:45 hrs IST: 44:20' HASSAANNN!!!
THAT WAS CLOSE!
A venomous shot by Karim! Gurpreet dives and splendidly tips it away!
22:42 hrs IST: 41:19' Brilliant defending by Jhingan. Al Haydos laid down an amazing ball for Almoez, who poorly controls it and Jhingan comes to India's rescue again!
22:41 hrs IST: 39:19' Great interception by Jhingan. Ali was rushing in towards goal, but Jhingan lunged in and made a tackle, setting Udanta for a counter.
The Bengaluru man tried to set up Manvir, but couldn't go past his market.
22:38 hrs IST: 37:40' Another Qatari corner. The ball floats in, Jhingan rushes in and puts in a lunging header, with Sahal clearing it away.
Good defending by India!
22:36 hrs IST: 35:16' Superb clearance by Adil!
Al Haydos lets in a curler via a freekick. The ball was floating in towards some Qatari players in India's box, but Adil jumps high and heads it away.
22:35 hrs IST: 32:26' ALMOSTTT!!!
Great save by Gurpreet! Almoez plays his teammate who is one-on-one with Sandhu, but shoots it straight and the linesman raises his flag.
22:32 hrs IST: 30:45' Offside!
Almoez Ali was set up for a tap in, but he and his teammate get muddled up in the move and the linesman raises his move.
22:30 hrs IST: 30:00' The opening 30 minutes have been all about Qatar. The hosts have kept the ball, and have continuously tested India. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has had to make some saves.
22:28 hrs IST: 26:49' Handball by Manvir.
Gurpreet clears the ball away from danger, with Manvir being sent for a counter-attack but he can't control it.
22:24 hrs IST: 23:23' Cleared away by Anirudh Thapa. Desperate defending by India, and Qatar get the ball again.
The Qataris are trying everything to stretch the Indian defense.
Also, Sandhu has received a yellow card.
22:21 hrs IST: 19:55' AL HAYDOSSS!!
What a save by Gurpreet! A long ranger and Sandhu tips it over the bar. Fantastic goalkeeping! Corner to Qatar.
22:20 hrs IST: 18:53' ALMOEZ ALIIII!!!
That was utter chaos! Roro and Ali link up in the Indian box, and Jhingan puts in a last-ditch interception at Ali, and the linesman calls the offside. CLOSE!
22:16 hrs IST: 15:56' Qatar get their third corner of the game.
Once again floated in, and Gurpreet catches it comfortably.
22:14 hrs IST: 12:50' GOOD CHANCE!!!
Abdulaziz misses by a whisker! What a long ranger attempt!
Technical brilliance by Qatar! They were moving the ball around comfortably around the Indian half. Then suddenly Dessai plays a mispass towards, Abdulaziz, who tries a long shot from outside the Indian box.
22:11 hrs IST: 9:50' CLOSEEE!
Good corner by Qatar, as Karim misses to connect with it in the far post. Gurpreet should have done better.
22:10 hrs IST: 8:50' A little too heavy by Sahal. Poor decision by the midfielder. He tries to directly run at the Qatar defense from his half, but faces obstruction and can't go past.
22:07 hrs IST: 6:28' Good move by India but Qatar stop it.
Thapa and Manvir combine well outside the Qatari box, and pass it to Poojary, who gets muscled off the ball.
22:06 hrs IST: 5:05' "India! India" chants can be heard. The Indian fans are letting their presence known!
22:02 hrs IST: 2:14' Qatar are moving the ball around and testing India. Good movement.
India will need to stay solid, and man-mark properly.
22:00 hrs IST: And we kick-off at Doha's Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. India face Qatar in a crucial 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash.
21:55 hrs IST: The players are out on the pitch for the sport's traditional proceedings.
21:51 hrs IST: UPDATE - The total allocation of away tickets (8%) has been sold, so expect a packed stadium with lots of Indian supporters for the match.
21:47 hrs IST: Borges, Thapa and Sahal will need to work at a very high rate against Qatar. Felix Sanchez has created a well-drilled outfit, who are also the best team in Asia. Indian midfielders will need to be highly alert and defensive against Qatar's physicality, speed.
21:39 hrs IST: Midfielder Amarjit Singh who would have started for India against Oman and tonight, if he would not have received an injury. The youngster is highly regarded by Stimac and will be an asset when he makes his comeback.
Speaking to aiff.com, he said, "I understand Qatar are labelled as ‘Spain of Asia,’ and that too for a reason. They are a very good team. But on the field, no history matters. It’s about fighting face to face, for the ball, and with the ball."
21:34 hrs IST: Jhingan and Adil need to be wary of Almoez Ali. He hit the limelight during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, where he marauded past opposition defenders and scored nine goals. He won the Golden Boot in the tournament and also led his national team to the title.
The 23-year-old was lethal Vs Afghanistan in Qatar's 2022 WCQ opener and scored a hattrick. The youngster can do it all, be it tap ins, accurate finishes, headers or solo goals. The Blue Tigers will need to be cautious about him.
21:32 hrs IST: India need to get a positive result out of this match and build some kind of momentum in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. The Blue Tigers need to finish in the top two spots in Group E to qualify.
21:24 hrs IST: Qatar's lineup is in!
Qatar: Sheeb, Miguel, Khoukhi, Hassan, Al Rawi, Salman, Hatim, Madibo, Al Haydos, Almoez, Abdurisag.
Substitutes: Mahdi Ali, Al Hajri, Fathi, Ali Afif, Ahraq, Alaaeldin, Alansari, Khidir, Ali, Barsham, Naim.
21:18 hrs IST: Stimac will probably go with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gurpreet at goal. Bheke at right-back, Jhingan and Adil as centre-backs, Dessai as left-back. In midfield, Thapa and Borges will form the defensive side. Meanwhile, Sahal will play as the attacking midfielder. Manvir will be flanked by Udanta and Poojary.
21:15 hrs IST: Huge decision by Igor Stimac in his starting lineup. No Ashique. No Chhetri. No Brandon. No Bose. Big players for India.
In comes Dessai, Poojary, Manvir and Sahal.
21:06 hrs IST: India's lineup is out! No Sunil Chhetri! He is suffering from fever and exhaustion. Also, four changes by Stimac!
India: Gurpreet, Bheke, Jhingan, Adil, Dessai, Thapa, Sahal, Borges, Udanta, Poojary, Manvir.
Substitutes: Bose, Narender, Balwant, Brandon, Kamaljit, Ashique, Vinit, Kotal, Chhangte, Anas, Amrinder.
21:03 hrs IST: In the defeat to Oman, other than Sunil Chhetri, Ashique Kuruniyan was spectacular for India, although he did get subbed later on. His direct running with the ball, and off-the-ball movement created havoc in the opposition half.
Kuruniyan, of course, owes his sudden rise to ex-coach Stephen Constantine, who made him an integral first-team player in India's bittersweet 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign, where they faced a group stage exit. Recently bought by Bengaluru FC for the upcoming domestic season, he was a crucial member during India's 4-1 thrashing of Thailand.
Soon after this year's Asian Cup, injuries and fitness issues prevented him from receiving national team call-ups. Kuruniyan missed out on Stimac's roster for the King's Cup and Intercontinental Cup. But come World Cup qualifiers, he is back!
20:58 hrs IST: Qatar midfielder Abdulaziz Hatem - who was present during the pre-match media interaction - stated that it will be a task for his side when they face India.
"We will not play the principle of overconfidence and our goal is to reflect the image of the hero and win the encounters we are in, and the task will not be easy tomorrow against the developed Indian team, and we have to facilitate things from the beginning," said Hatem.
20:52 hrs IST: The Indian national football team have walked into the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. There was no Sunil Chhetri in the photographs, uploaded on Twitter.
20:48 hrs IST: During Qatar's pre-match press conference, head coach Felix Sanchez Bas stated that the opposition has developed in their style of football and it would be a challenge for his team.
20:45 hrs IST: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - who was also present during the pre-match press conference - revealed that his team will try to get a positive result against their upcoming opponents. He will be skippering India tonight, if Chhetri doesn't start.
“Not getting a result against Oman was disappointing for us. But as a player you have to take it in your stride, and move on to the next challenge. We think it’s a good opportunity to play against Qatar. We will try our best, and try to get a result from the game,” Gurpreet commented.
20:42 hrs IST: Ahead of the fixture, India head coach Igor Stimac feels that it is difficult to find any weakness in Qatar, but his team won't give up against them.
"I know the Qatar team pretty well. Their physical strength is great, and their technical capabilities, and movements are fantastic. It’s difficult to find any weak point in their squad," said Stimac.
20:35 hrs IST: 1 hour, 30 minutes to go!
Team News: For India, there is a high chance for Sunil Chhetri to not start in this match, after it was reported that he has been suffering from fever, and is also exhausted. Also, Ashique Kuruniyan is a doubtful, although he began his training yesterday.
For Qatar, winger Akram Afif won't be available. He has reportedly left for his club Al Sadd and wasn't in training yesterday. It is being rumored that his reaction to his substitution in against Afghanistan hasn't been taken lightly. Also his club have a crucial AFC Champions League fixture coming up.
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20:21 hrs IST: Good evening everyone! Welcome to Outlook's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier live blog of Qatar Vs India! The Blue Tigers will be aiming to bounce back from their previous defeat, meanwhile, The Maroons will be aiming to continue their fine form in front of goal.
Preview: Both India and Qatar have met each other only once in the senior level, when Qatar defeated India 6-0, in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. Their junior teams have met four times in U-23 competitions with Qatar winning thrice and one ending in a draw.
Qatar currently lead Group E with three points, followed by Oman, Bangladesh, India and Afghanistan.