The much-awaited International friendly match between India and China that took place in Suzhou ended in a goalless draw on Saturday. An aggressive performance by the Stephen Constantine’s side saw them hold favourites China, with the defiant Indian defence denying the hosts a chance to take lead.
India went into the match hoping for their first win against China after 17 encounters. India, however, failed to break China’s unbeaten record against them as the two sides clashed for the first time in 21 years.
The Men in Blue created a number of chances, showed intent against China, who stand 76th in FIFA rankings and seventh in Asia but faltered when it came to finishing. Meanwhile, Marcello Lippi’s team in orange dominated possession and continued to test the Indian defence that was led by captain Sandesh Jhingan. Goalkeeper Gurpeet Singh Sandhu stood out after making impressive saves to keep the scoreline level at 0-0.
India began well, forcing a save from China’s Yan Junling in the 10th minute. China, who dominated possession, made the most of counter-attacks as Gao Lin rose the highest in the box for a cross that reached straight to the Indian keeper.
Gao Lin continued to test the Indian defence as a few minutes later, he was played through on a swift counter but his shot was saved well by Gurpreet, who stuck out his leg to keep the scoreline clean.
China began the second half well, making a number of substitutions. Gao Lin smashed another shot at goal which rattled Gurpreet’s crossbar, much to the relief of the visitors.
The Chinese attackers also saw a number of goal scoring opportunities, especially in the second half. The Indian defence including Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika were involved in a messy goalline tussle that denied the Chinese from going ahead.
With five minutes of added time, India could have even pulled off a win if Farukh Chowdhury’s shot was not blocked by the Chinese keeper.