Len Doungel played the role of a super sub, rescuing India in the dying embers of added time, to manage a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier, at Dushanbe's Central Republican Stadium. Both sides started off the match well, battling it out in midfield. It was the Afghans, who opened the scoring before halftime. India were kept at bay for most part of the second half, until added time, when Doungel scored via a Brandon Fernandes corner kick. Get here highlights of Afghanistan (AFG) Vs India (IND) here. (FOOTBALL NEWS | MATCH REPORT)
Afghanistan 1-1 India
21:24 hrs IST: FT' And the referee blows his whistle for fulltime! An excellent match, 1-1 at the end, but another draw for India. Complete end-to-end action and credit Len Doungel for rescuing his side!
21:21 hrs IST: 92:01' GOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! LEN DOUNGEL WITH THE GOALLLL!!!!
An excellent corner by Brandon, Doungel heads it into goal and shows another example of the FC Goa connection!
21:20 hrs IST: 90:37' Five minutes of added time. India just can't find the end product to really find the back of the net. The Blue Tigers still have a few more minutes, and can still dig in an equaliser.
21:18 hrs IST: 89:32' Another possible Afghan injury, or are they wasting time?
21:14 hrs IST: 85:05' BRANDON FROM DISTANCE!!!
It was a good layoff for him by Manvir. The Indian forwards were linking up well, only for Brandon to sky it way too high.
21:12 hrs IST: 83:43' MANVIRRRRR!!
Oh, that was just wide. Chhetri put in a decent cross for the FC Goa striker, but his header went wide.
21:11 hrs IST: 82:29' LENNN!! Nice try by the midfielder.
He attempts to dummy past the Afghan backline inside the box, but loses control and fumbles the ball.
21:09 hrs IST: 80:33' Ten minutes and added time. India are running out of minutes, as they seem to be unable to go past the Afghanistan goalkeeper.
21:05 hrs IST: 76:50' Substitution for India. Doungel comes in for Kotal.
21:04 hrs IST: 75:29' Brandon swings in a freekick, but it cleared away with comfortable ease. India need to do better, if they really want a few cracks towards the crucial equaliser.
21:00 hrs IST: 71:42' The Afghanistan fans are roaring in the Central Republican Stadium at Dushanbe. The flashlights are on, and its celebration mode for them right now! Can India find the crucial equaliser?
20:56 hrs IST: 67:03' SUNIL CHHETRI OFF THE BARRR!!! HOW CLOSE WAS THAT!!!
Brandon put in a delicious corner into the Afghan box. It went past everyone, and straight to Chhetri, whose header went past the bar for a goal-kick.
20:54 hrs IST: 65:25' OFF THE BARRR!!!
What an attempt from Amiri. He receives the ball outside the Indian box, and puts it in his favored right foot. The result is a scorcher that hits the crossbar and goes out.
20:50 hrs IST: 61:58' India have gained momentum in their search for an equaliser. Also, Manvir has been substituted in, Sahal has gone to the bench.
20:46 hrs IST: 57:47' CHHETRIIII!!!
Excellent save by the keeper. India are getting in the mood. Just few seconds back, the India captain was inches away from finding the equaliser via a Farukh cross.
20:44 hrs IST: 55:37' India are trying to build some momentum in their game but Afghanistan's time-wasting tactics is hindering it. Stimac will need to introduce a midfielder, as Brandon and Fernandes are losing out to their opponents.
20:38 hrs IST: 49:27' FARUKHH!!
Poor shot but a good attempt. He cuts in from the left and then shoots from the edge of the Afghan box. It goes way too high.
20:37 hrs IST: 48:02' Poor ball by Sahal outside the Afghan box, as Udanta misses it and fouls a defender.
20:35 hrs IST: 45:43' India have introduced Farukh instead of Mandar. Kuruniyan has shifted to left-back. Farukh will be expected to reduce the pressure of Chhetri, who can roam more freely and shift deep.
20:33 hrs IST: And we kick-off the second half, as India will be aiming to find the crucial equaliser against Afghanistan in today's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
20:19 hrs IST: HT' Its halftime now. India started bright but vanished in the final few minutes, with Zelfaqar finding the back of India's net. It was a brilliant goal and could prove to be crucial for Afghanistan.
20:17 hrs IST: 45:09' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!
Zelfaqar gives Afghanistan the lead just before the halftime. What a moment for the Afghans to score! It was an excellent ground cross from the right flank, with a fine fizzing past Gurpreet.
20:13 hrs IST: 41:02' India concede a freekick in a crucial position right outside their box. Sharif makes a run forward from his center-back position but gets fouled.
20:09 hrs IST: 38:22' WHAT A SAVEEEE!!!
It was a piledriver of a shot, but Sandhu parries it away for a corner. It was a close effort by Shayesteh!
20:07 hrs IST: 35:15' Brandon takes India's first corner. He puts it towards the far side, but it gets dealt with. Slightly better from India in the last few minutes.
20:05 hrs IST: 33:03' Finally cleared away by Afghanistan. Kuruniyan goes on a run from outside the box, with Brandon setting him free. He looked lethal but lost his calm in the box.
19:58 hrs IST: 26:29' ASHIQUEEEEEE!!!
That was close. India's first attempt comes for Kuruniyan. He and Sahal combine well, and get lucky too! The Bengaluru man attempts an instinctive shot from outside the box, but it goes high. Early promise!
19:56 hrs IST: 24:52' Good delivery by Shayesteh, as he puts in a freekick into the Indian box. India clear it, and a rebound header gets dealt safely.
Afghanistan have begun to dominate the game now, with the Indian midfielders missing out on control. The Afghans have been fast with their movement and have played clinical passes.
19:50 hrs IST: 19:04' Poor ball by Brandon, as he tries to find Udanta in the counter. It was way too wayward, and Afghanistan dealt with it comfortably.
19:48 hrs IST: 16:59' Good defending by India, as they clear out a Afghan freekick. Good defending, but India need to be wary of their aerial threat.
19:46 hrs IST: 14:38' Corner for Afghanistan. It goes towards the far post. It's chaotic in the box, but India manage to clear it out of danger.
19:43 hrs IST: 11:42' GLORIOUS BALL BY BRANDON!!
He puts in a fantastic long ball for Pritam from his own half. Kotal poorly controls it and it goes for a throw near the corner flag in the Afghan half.
Brandon is playing in the Thapa role, as we can see him spraying passes and changing wing play from the middle of the park. The FC Goa has got an excellent opportunity to cement his position in India starting XI.
19:41 hrs IST: 09:20' Chhetri loses the ball near the halfway line and Afghanistan goes on another counter. Haydari gets the balls and runs forward. He goes past the backline, but can't control with Gurpreet pouncing on the ball and holding it.
19:39 hrs IST: 08:24' India are continuously attacking, mainly from the right flank. Kotal is making some nice runs, with Afghanistan sitting back and going for the counter.
19:36 hrs IST: 05:01' Nice layoff! Pritam puts in a wonderful cross, but Ashique fumbles his header! Chhetri tries to pounce but its dealt with by the Afghan backline.
19:35 hrs IST: 04:12' Halder is sitting right in front of the backline, just as how he was utilized by Stephen Constantine in the bittersweet AFC Asian Cup campaign. Meanwhile, Adil is the last man in defence, with Mandar and Kotal as wingbacks. Bheke partners Adil. Brandon and Samad are playing the advanced creative roles, with Chhetri as the forward. Meanwhile, Udanta is in the right flank, with Ashique in the other.
19:33 hrs IST: 01:31' India are applying pressure right from the go, with Afghanistan putting in some long balls for their pacy attackers.
19:30 hrs IST: And we kick-off India's Group E 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Afghanistan at the Central Republican Stadium. Its third place against fourth place, can the Blue Tigers leapfrog their opponents? Only 90 minutes will decide that!
19:26 hrs IST: The teams have lined up for the national anthem now. Noor leads Afghanistan and Chhetri does it for India. Can the Blue Tigers rebuild their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign?
19:19 hrs IST: A win will take India to third place in the table, leapfrogging over Afghanistan. The Indian fans are also making their presence felt in the stadium. The Manjappada and Blue Pilgrims are making their voices heard!
19:14 hrs IST: Stimac could go for a 4-3-3 formation, with Halder, Brandon and Samad forming the midfield trident. Gurpreet will need to lead a backline consisting of Kotal, Bheke, Adil, Mandar. Chhetri, Udanta and Kuruniyan will form the attacking trio.
19:10 hrs IST: Against the Afghans, Sunil Chhetri has scored three goals, with all of them coming in the SAFF Cup. He will once again be the man tasked with scoring goals for his side. The striker has been prolific at the international level, and is the most consistent scorer for the Blue Tigers. Also, the team hasn't been able to find a suitable replacement yet for 35-year-old.
19:07 hrs IST: Here is what Afghanistan's Zohib Islam Amiri had to say before the match:
.@ZohibIslamAmiri ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ£ï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ: India ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ®ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ³ is like my second home ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ and I hope we will have a very good game ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ#IndianFootball âÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ½ï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #AFGIND âÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #BackTheBlue ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #BlueTigers ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¯ pic.twitter.com/cWevUuASrF— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 14, 2019
18:59 hrs IST: Meanwhile, Brandon Fernandes will need to prove his caliber, as he hasn't been able to shine in national colors yet. The FC Goa man is highly regarded but needs to implement his club form for India.
18:54 hrs IST: Ashique Kuruniyan will really need to step up his game tonight. He was underwhelming against Bangladesh, a contrast to his buccaneering runs against Oman. Stimac will need to give the Bengaluru youngster more freedom, so that he can complement Sunil Chhetri well.
18:47 hrs IST: Afghanistan's starting XI: Azizi, Najem, Amin, Haroon, Husin, Sharif, Zelfy, Noor, Omid, Faisal, Omran.
18:35 hrs IST: Here is India's starting XI for the match:
Gurpreet, Bheke, Adil, Samad, Brandon, Chhetri (c), Halder, Udanta, Mandar, Ashique, Kotal (4-3-3)
18:26 hrs IST: India are also without two key players in the form of Sandesh Jhingan and Rowllin Borges. The Kerala Blasters man is currently recovering from a surgery. The Mumbai City man is nursing an injury.
"We have improved a lot since our first game (against Oman). We can show what we are capable of without our key players sometimes (defender Sandesh Jhingan and midfielder Rowlin Borges). The result against Afghanistan in Dushanbe will have a major impact on the entire team. A win will boost our confidence by manifold before we head to Muscat," said Stimac.
18:16 hrs IST: Ahead of the match, Igor Stimac revealed to reporters that the playing conditions will be tough for India due to the artificial turf and sub-zero conditions. "The match is scheduled on an artificial turf which our players are not used to. Afghanistan have chosen the venue to make others' life difficult and we have an uphill task in front of us to overcome it," he said.
18:00 hrs IST: India have a good record against Afghanistan. Out of eight times, India have won six matches. One match has been drawn, and one has been won by the Afghans.
17:56 hrs IST: Afghanistan come into this match after defeating Bangladesh, and having previously lost to Oman and Qatar.
17:48 hrs IST: India kicked-off their campaign with a narrow 1-2 defeat to Oman, before a draw against Qatar in September. The good show in the first two matches raised hopes of a possible third-round berth but a 1-1 draw against eastern neighbours Bangladesh in Kolkata on October 15 came as a dampener.
Had it not been for Adil Khan's last-gasp header (88th minute), Igor Stimac's side would have utterly disappointed the capacity crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium that day.
17:13 hrs IST: INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Narender, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai, Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary.
17:00 hrs IST: Good evening everyone! Welcome to Outlook's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier live blog of Afghanistan Vs India! The Blue Tigers will be aiming to put some momentum in their recent run of form.
PREVIEW: The Blue Tigers are fourth in Group E after just two points due to consecutive draws against Qatar and Bangladesh. They lost to Oman in their opener. Meanwhile, Afghanistan are third.
In the upcoming match, Stimac will be without Sandesh Jhingan and Rowllin Borges. The former is currently recovering from surgery, meanwhile, the latter is injured. The responsibility will once again be on the shoulders of Sunil Chhetri for goals and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for cleansheets. Also, Adil Khan will need to put in another crucial performance after his goal against Bangladesh.
Afghanistan come into this match after beating Bangladesh. They earlier lost to Oman and Qatar. Their player Haroon Amiri has faced Indian players before in the inaugural Indian Super League edition in 2014 for FC Goa. He has played in the past and has recently signed for I-League's Gokulam Kerala. Amiri is also his country's most capped player with 48 appearances. Also, skipper Farshad Noor will need to lead his side from the front.
Speaking about his side's poor display against Bangladesh, Stimac said during the pre-match press conference, "The last game wasn’t at that level like the first two, because we were in a position to completely attack and generate chances against a Bangladesh side that played with 10 players in front of their box. The numbers were good. We had 74% of possession. 17 shots on goal, some really good chances and about our execution plan I was happy. But, I was not happy with letting Bangladesh have two clear chances. That was the bad part of our game and we are working on solving that issue now."
Opposition head coach Dastgir stated that his side are not underestimating India. "The players are focused in training. We know we are up against a tough opponent. They played really well to draw with Qatar and against Oman, they lost but led 1-0 at half-time. So, we know that they are a good team," he said.