Asian football champions Qatar were held by India to a 0-0 score in Doha on Tuesday. The Indian team’s ability to restrict the Qatar goalmachine was due to the heroics of goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was the officiating captain in the absence of star Sunil Chhetri. India lost to Oman in Guwahati on September 5 in the second round of Group E. On October 15, Bangladesh will face India in the next match in Group E, which also includes Afghanistan.
Tuesday’s draw saw Gurpreet Singh Sandhu blunt at least 14 attempts by the Qataris. The Indian team was under immense pressure due to captain Sunil Chhetri’s absence due to a fever. But Sandhu, the stand-in captain, kept his end of the bargain.
In its earlier match, Qatar scored 6 goals against Afghanistan at the same venue and were pretty confident on the field against India but Sandhu had other ideas. Qatari coach Felix Sanchez said Sandhu made the big difference in the game.
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
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) September 10, 2019
Indian players Sandesh Jhingan and Adil Khan constituted a strong defensive pairing at the centre and made it difficult for the Qatar forwards. Mandar Rao Desai, Rahul Bheke along with Anirudh Thapa and Abdul Sahal helped the team in its defence. Here is how tweeple reacted on the results:
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 10, 2019
Jai Hind!! 🙏🏻💪🏼🇮🇳 We dream and it’s our Dream together INDIA!! Proud of my boys and proud of the fans!! Thanks to all who believe & support us all. We all are together & We will achieve the dream together!! #FIFAWCQ2022 #QATIND #BackTheBlue 🐯 https://t.co/UxJOcuuOEf
— Igor Štimac (@stimac_igor) September 10, 2019
Of course, in the bigger scheme of things, a 0-0 result doesn't mean much. It is only India's first point in the #AsianQualifiers. But, for a 103-ranked side to hold a team ranked 62nd in the world, an Asian champion, to a goalless draw, is an indication of a good fight. #QATIND
— Manasi Pathak (@ThatUnitedLady) September 10, 2019
— Abhishek Yadav (@abhiy10) September 10, 2019
— Suparno Roy Kumar (@Iamsroykumar) September 10, 2019
— Kiran Narayanan (@Kiran_519) September 10, 2019
Holy shit! We actually drew against the reigning Asian champs!
In spite of everything, we still managed that.
— Vijay.R.B (@TheBaronVj) September 10, 2019
What a result! 💪🏻 India have ground out a 0-0 at Asian champions Qatar. Big result which did seem impossible after 1-2 loss to Oman and without Sunil Chhetri in the XI tonight. Such relentless and dogged defending & safe goalkeeping (😱)! We can do with that more often. #QATIND
— Akarsh Sharma (@Akarsh_Official) September 10, 2019
For the first time I have seen 100k+ people watching @IndianFootball
Team play on Hotstar. I sincerely want to thank all 100k+ people to take out the time to watch the match. The support means the world to team and everyone here at AIFF. Thank you all. #QATIND
— Naman Marwah (@ZEANergy) September 10, 2019
💉💉💉💉💉 Into my Veins.
— #6 (@sitanshusaran) September 10, 2019
— Naiz_Nair (@Pravin_Naiz) September 10, 2019