India hold Qatar to famous 0-0 draw in WC qualifier

Ross Houston
September 11, 2019

The Blue Tigers had to withstand tremendous pressure from the home side throughout the ninety minutes but they held firm at the back to open their account in Group E.

Few gave the side any chance of coming away with anything but a defeat to 2022 hosts Qatar, a team ranked 41 places higher than India, but stout defending and some superb goalkeeping from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu helped them earn a point.

He single-handedly stopped the Qataris from scoring any goal in the Group E match which will be remembered for long by the Indians.

Despite playing without their talismanic captain and striker Sunil Chhetri, who was laid low by fever, the Indians denied Qatar, who won the Asian Cup title in January, despite the home side managing more than a dozen shots on target.

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.

And though the dying minutes of the game saw Qatar throw the kitchen sink at India in search of the victor, the Blue Tigers held their ground to walk away with a point from the home of the Asian champions.

Perhaps the last scoreline that anyone watching a game of football would want at the end of the day.But not for every India fan keyed into his/her team's fate at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday night. "The team-effort helped us achieve the result".

"It gives us that added motivation and confidence that in football, anything is possible".

Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was unbeatable under the bar as he led the team to a famous draw against Qatar, was also proud of the way his team performed against the Asian Champions.

The premier stadium has already played host to the Men's Hockey World Cup, Asian Athletics Championship and other worldwide championships.

"THAT is my team and THOSE are my boys!"

"Not a big result for the table, but in terms of a fight, as big as it can get".

India had nearly seen the game home, and with a couple of late flourishes from defence, they could celebrate a famous point in one of their toughest matches on the road to World Cup qualification.

The eight group winners and the four best runners-up advance to the third round of qualification for the World Cup.

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