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Thursday, December 05, 2019

India vs Afghanistan, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Highlights: India fight to earn point, World Cup dream suffers setback

India vs Afghanistan (IND vs AFG), FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifiers Highlights: The draw keeps India in with a mathematical chance of making it into the top two positions in Group E, but is another significant setback to the country's World Cup dreams.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: November 15, 2019 4:18:25 am
Afghanistan struck at the stroke of the half time whistle to go into the interval with a 1-0 lead. India equalized in the added time after 90 minutes. (Source: Twitter/IndianFootball)

India vs Afghanistan (IND vs AFG), FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifiers 2019 Highlights: India left it late against Afghanistan to earn a 1-1 draw courtesy a headed goal in added time by Seiminlen Doungel in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday. Despite being in the ascendancy for most of the match – especially in the second half – India failed to find the goal till the 93rd minute, when Len connected with one of the numerous crosses floated into the box by Brandon Fernandes. Afghanistan had found the net in the added time of the first half.

The draw keeps India in with a mathematical chance of making it into the top two positions in Group E, but is another significant setback to the country’s World Cup dreams. 2nd placed Oman have a 6-point lead over India. Teams need to finish among the top two slots to have a chance of progressing to the next round. India face Oman in a World Cup qualifier next week.

Live Blog

India vs Afghanistan, FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers Highlights:


    21:23 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    Full Time

    That's it. The final whistle blows. It ends 1-1 in Dushanbe.

    21:20 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    India equalize

    Substitute Len scores. brandon Fernandes the provider. AFG 1-1 IND

    Two minutes left to complete a miraculous turnaround!

    21:20 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    Added time

    Into added time now. Stimac is not happy with the fact that only 5 minutes are added on. No amount of nitpicking will help though. India's football ambitions have had a bit of an unravelling tonight in Tajikistan. After disappointing in Kolkata last month, India have failed to shine vs Afghanistan today.

    21:17 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Intezar comes on for AFG. The wait for Afghanistan is not long now though. 1 minute and added time all that is left for them to hold on.

    21:14 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Heavy touch from Manvir in the box lets him down again. Brandon unleashes another long ranger in the aftermath of that bungled move but that sails well over the bar.

    21:12 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Manvir heads just wide. For the umpteenth time in the match, the ball just rolls harmlessly past the Afghan goalpost. India have thrown the kitchen sink at their opposition today, but nothing has gone their way.

    21:08 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan are frustrating India at the moment. The ball is passed back to the keeper. And then there is another India attack which comes to nithing. Len fails to produce any cross worthy of mention with blue shirts having flooded the box.

    21:05 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Gurpreet makes a diving save to his right. Len Doungel comes on in place of Pritam Kotal. This is ALL OUT attack from India. Brandon unleashes another long ranger but that flies over safely to the right of goal.

    21:02 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    15 minutes are all India have to save their campaign from going up in smoke. All 10 Indian outfielders are in the opposition half at the moment, but there is still no goal. Chhetri loses the ball in trying to get a move going.

    20:56 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Chhetri misses an open goal. The goal was gaping! One touch, that was all that was needed. His header goes over the bar though. Nothing seems to be going India's way. After AFG threatened from setpieces all match, it is IND who get close to goal with a setpiece.

    20:55 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Udanta gets a header in this time. Not enough power behind that to trouble the keeper. But the attacks keep on coming.

    20:54 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan get another shot that gets Indian hearts stopping. Strikes the top side of the bar and goes out. Afghanistan go close to going two goals up.

    20:51 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    India are looking dangerous! The attacks are coming in waves. Still there's no breakthrough. Still, India's World Cup dream is slipping away. Kotal loses the ball to end a mini-period of pressure.

    20:46 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Chhetri forces a save! Cross comes in from Farukh, Chhetri is inches away from making contact. A touch could have seen it go in. Seconds later, another cross comes in. Chhetri heads. Keeper saves. What a great save that was. India are knocking on the door here!

    One more attacking change - Manvir comes on for Sahal Samad.

    20:44 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    India are crowding the Afghan half but to no avil at the moment. Afghanistan's half time team talk seems to have been on predictable lines - slow the game down.

    20:41 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan keeper goes down. A tad early for time wasting tactics surely? Pronoy has a word with the referee. The physios are out and we have a long interruption.

    20:38 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    2nd half

    The second half is underway. India need a goal. Or make that two. Time is running out on India's World Cup dream in Dushanbe. Farukh Choudhury comes on in place of Mandar Rao Desai as India go for the kill. That is a clear attacking move.

    20:18 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Brandon Fernandes goes for long shot. And that was not very far.
    First half whistle blows. Afghanistan go in with a 1-0 lead. Stimac, who would have been preparing a very different team talk, has a task on his hand at half time. Can the Tigers roar back?

    20:16 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan score. The score 1-0 at the stroke of half time. Zelfagar the scorer. Afghanistan finally make India pay. And what a time to concede. In injury time of the first half.

    20:13 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan's centre back is allowed to make a free run right to the edge of the Indian box before Sahal is forced to make a challenge he was in no position to make. Another free kick. Another dangerous situation for India. But again, in the end, it is Gurpreet who collects. Gurpreet has been the busier keeper in this first half.

    20:10 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan make a foray. Almost against the run of play, Gurpreet is called on to make a good save. The shot somehow made its way through many defenders' legs but Gurpreet was awake to the situation. 

    20:08 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    India crowd the Afghanistan box. And the fizz is back in the Indian team. Brandon, Mandar, Ashique and Sahal have been very visible in the last 5 minutes or so, with Chhetri (who else?) at the centre of it all. India have found their footing, can they strike before the first half ends? 10 minutes or so to go.

    20:04 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Ashique makes a run on the left flank. Leaves two defenders for dead, but can't get past a third. India's midfield is looking dangerous again! Ashique gets another cross in into the Afghan box and it is just cleared. India are getting back into this match. 

    20:03 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    There is a very tense atmosphere about this tie. Whichever team loses this match will lose sight of the top 2 spots in this group, so there's a lot on the line. Afghanistan are back to sitting deeper after a period of sustained pressure. Still 0-0 at the half-hour mark. There has been a topsy turvy air about this match. Get the sense the first goal will be crucial!

    19:58 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    India get an attempt on goal. Ashique gets a shot in after combining with Sahal. The shot is well struck. But it sails just wide of goal. First real chance for India though.

    19:56 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    India are playing with fire! Adil Khan saves India after a dangerous looking ball from the free kick goes in a dangerous area.

    19:54 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Udanta fails to make the most of the space he had. Knocks the ball forward a little too much and then cannot get there before the defender. Udanta seems to be India's chosen avenue of attack at the moment but it is not working. And then there is another bit of confusion between Adil and Mandar on the left side. Another free kick for Afghanistan from a dangerous position.

    19:52 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Troublingly for India, Afghanistan are also winning the one-on-one battles at the moment. And their gameplan seems to be working. The left side of India's defence looks like a tile roof in a flood-ravaged place right now. The quick passing play that had defined India's approach in the last few games has been absent after the first 10 minutes. Against Bangladesh too, that fluid approach had been lacking. Something needs to give!

    19:49 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan have seized the mometum of the match after India had lorded the game in the first 10 minutes. Free kicks. Corners. The game is favouring AFG at the moment. India need to get the game flowing. The more interruptions there are, the more Afghanistan will be in the driving seat. AFG are also clearly targetting Mandar Rao at LB. There seems to be thought out strategy behind this.

    19:44 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan make another foray down the right. Mandar Rao is caught out at LB for the second time in the match! 2d corner of the match for AFG. And India are made to feel the heat in the setpiece that follows. Bheke gets the final touch as India clear. India need to be very wary of the setpiece threat today. Cannot give away cheap corners.

    19:43 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    A glorious long ball from the midfield just beats Udanta on the right. India are looking for the chance to release their wingers down the flank. The focus mostly on the right at the moment. Ashique yet to make his presence flet today. Meanwhile, Afghanistan are forced to make an early change as one of their players go down.

    19:41 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Afghanistan's chance to attack now. Gurpreet called to make two collections - neither too challenging - in quick succession. The first is a tricky looping ball. The second is more dangerous, with Afghanistan forwards leaving the defenders wrong-footed. Gurpreet comes out of his line and collects both times.

    19:40 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    Midfield overload

    The midfield looks packed with Afghanistan legs at the moment. Mandar Rao Desai narrowly fails to make the most of a long ball delivered to him in acres of space.

    19:35 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Pritam Kotal sends a cross in from the right for the first glimpse of goalmouth action in the match. Defence clears it away. Has to be said India are looking the likelier to score in these first few minutes.

    19:31 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    Kick off

    India get the action underway. India try to keep the ball in the first few minutes.

    19:27 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    The Indian national anthem is ringing out in icy Tajikistan. The Afghan anthem follows. Seconds away from the first kick of the match now. Can the Men in Blue keep the World Cup dream alive today? Now or never!

    19:18 (IST)14 Nov 2019

    Anirudh Thapa is on the bench today. We are sure to see him come on sometime today. Depends on how Pronay Haldar can perform on his return to the XI. Thapa is the more creative of the two, but maybe he has been benched today considering how porous the India midfield looked against Bangladesh last month.

    Manvir can come on from the bench to try and increase India's attacking push if that is the need of the hour. He had his moments in the Bangladesh match and surely deserves another go today.

    19:04 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    More freedom for Sahal Samad?

    Aghanistan XI: Ovays Azizi, Amin, Fakhruddin, Najem, Mukhammad, Noor, Shayesteh, Popalzay, Husin, Nazary

    To speculate about how Stimac's boys are going to line up today further, it will be interesting to see Sahal Samad today. With Pronay Haldar coming back, and the in-form Brandon alongside him, Sahal could get the bit of freedom in an attacking role. At the back, Bheke(nbauer) can be expected to play the makeshift central defensive role alongside Adil Khan. Big day for him, big day for all of India. Can the Blue Tigers roar in icy Tajikistan?

    The teams have started stepping out onto the field. Kick off at 7:30 IST.

    18:53 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    Defensive pairing

    India's big problem in recent matches - like when they fell flat against lowly Bangladesh last time out - has been the lack of a solid central defensive pairing. Sandesh Jhingan's absence is a palpable presence in the India D-box. Anas continues to be indisposed. Adil Khan has stepped up to the situation, but he has not had a stable partner. Narender Gahlot, the only other specialist CB in the side, does not command the coach's confidence yet. And so India go in with a makeshift defence again. Mandar Rao will probably play as the left back, with Rahul Bheke, who has become a favourite of Stimac, and Pritam Kotal the others in the back 4.

    18:48 (IST)14 Nov 2019
    India Starting XI

    Gurpreet (GK), Pritam, Rahul, Adil, Mandar, Udanta, Pronay, Sahal, Brandon, Ashique, Sunil (C).


    Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.

    Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Narender, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.

    Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan.

    Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary.