India vs Afghanistan, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Highlights: Doungel rescues a point for India

Seminlen Doungel scored in the dying minutes of the game as India managed a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Dushanbe.

Seminlen Doungel (#22) heads in India's equaliser from a corner in injury time against Afghanistan.   -  AIFF Twitter

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the Afghanistan vs India FIFA World Cup Qualifier match played at the Central Republic Stadium in Dushanbe. This is Samarnath Soory and I will keep you company through this evening's contest.

 

FULL-TIME: AFGHANISTAN 1-1 INDIA

It is a huge blow for India's World Cup hopes as another draw, its third from four qualifying matches, leaves the Blue Tigers languishing fourth in the Group E standings. Qatar leads the group with 10 points from 4 matches followed by Oman on 6 points. With two home and two away matches left to be played, India's chances of making it to the next round look remote.

90+4' Seminlen gets close as he goes for an audacious try from outside the box but skies it over the bar. Hassan Amiri gets a shot at the other end off a counter attacking from Afghanistan.

90+1' Bheke with a long throw-in as Brandon tries to find Manvir on the right. But the cross is over the forward's head. India just unable to find a way.

89' Afghanistan makes a late change by bringing in Milad Intezar into the middle. The move helps the team in stalling the match for few more seconds.

87' Udanta gets the ball into the box as his crosses reaches Manvir who chests it down for Chhetri. However, Afghanistan defenders get to the ball first and clear the danger.

85' Manvir gets the ball inside the box and lays it in the path of Brandon who hits it on the run. The balls keeps rising and rising and another chance is wasted by India.

83' India wins a corner kick but Brandon's delivery is poor. The ball is kept low and close to the post but the Afghanistan goalkeeper manages to get hold of the ball easily.

82' Zelfagar Nazary makes a dangerous run into the box after sensing a through ball but Adil is one step ahead of him and cuts it out.

80' Chhetri gets a shot on the goal as the clearance falls for substitute Seminlen Doungel outside the box. The fullback tries to find Chhetri inside the but finds an Afghan player waiting to pick the pass.

78' Brandon has a go from a distance as he forces a low save from Azizi. India growing desperate with eveyr passing minute.

76' Shot! Najem is offered too much space on the right as he goes the bottom right corner which Gurpreet saves. India fails to clear the ball as he gets another chance but smashes it into the side netting.

75' Udanta wins a free-kick on the right side of the penalty area. Brandon stands over the set-piece and whips it in front of the goal but Afghanistan easily clears the danger.

73' Pritam needs to do better. The full-back tries to curl a ball into the box without checking his teammates' runs but there is no real direction to the cross as the balls goes over the line for a Afghan goal-kick.

71' Afghanistan wins a corner and takes it short. The ball is worked on the right but the weighted cross from Noor falls safely for an Indian throw-in.

69' Farshad Noor wins a free kick in the centre and takes the set-piece, but Adil clears it away easily.

67' CLOSE! India wins a corner as Brandon's delivery falls for Chhetri, who is unmarked at the far post. The Indian skipper heads it on the bounce which goes over the crossover. India looking lively here.

66' Shot! Noroallah Amiri shifts the ball on to his right foot from outside the box and pull the trigger. The ball dips ferociously but misses the cross bar narrowly.

62' Brandon gets the ball on the left and cross it towards an onrushing Udanta in the box but the Sharif is in place to cut out the danger.

60' Manvir comes on for Sahal as he slots in the front line as Stimac tries a two-pronged strategy upfront.

57' Shot! Ashique and Farukh play one-two on the left as the latter flashes the ball into the box but Chhetri is unable to get to the ball. The Indian captain gets a shot on the goal with a header moments later after Pritam gets the ball into the ball from the right. Chhetri asks a penalty but the referee says no.

55' Ashique is taken off the ball by Noor Husin on the left as Afghanistan wins a free kick after Najem goes down on the flank.

52' Afghanistan goalkeeper Ovays Azizi goes down clutching his knee as the Indians complain to the referee of time wasting. However, he is back on his feet and seems fine.

50' Brandon and Chhetri tries to bring the ball out from the back as India works the ball from the left. Udanta tries to get on the end of a cross from Farukh but the ball from the winger has too much power behind it.

49' Udante puts pressure on Amiri just outside the area but clips the defender in the process. India needs a big slice of luck at this point of the match.

47' Farshad Noor takes on aimless shot at the goal which sails safely over the crossbar.

46' The second-half begins! Ashique drops into a deeper position on the left.

* Stimac makes a change for the second-half. Mandar Dessai is replaced by Farukh Choudhary.

HALF-TIME: AFGHANISTAN 1-0 INDIA

45+1' GOAL AFGHANISTAN!  David Najem gets to the byline on the right and cuts it back into the box as Zelfy Nazary runs into the box and smashes it past Gurpreet after Bheke completely misses the ball.

42' Gurpreet manages to punch the ball away, but Afghanistan gets it back as Najem takes a tame shot at the goal which is easily picked up by Gurpreet.

40' Ashique and Sahal are unable to get the ball out of the left flank as Afghanistan get hold of the ball. Its centre-back Sharif Muhammed goes on an adventurous run into the Indian half and draws a foul from Sahal on the edge of the box.

39' Shot! Shayastey takes a shot as Gurpreet gets to his left to make a save. The midfielder takes the resultant corner but it is headed away by the Indian defence.

37' Mandar cuts in from the left but he is forced to pass it back as he is unable to find his teammates in advance positions.

36' India wins a corner kick which is whipped in at the near post. Sahal gets a head to it but is unable to hold on. A good spell of play for the Indian attackers.

35' Omran Hydari gets the ball on the right and has acres of space on the right flank. However, Adil comes up with a crunching tackle to take to get the ball away to safety.

34' Ashique dances down the left box after being receiving a pass from Chhetri. He gets past two defenders but the Afghan defence clears the danger.

33' Another corner for Afghanistan but Shayastey's delivery was poor. Hassan Amin tries to take out Bheke but the Indian wins the ball.

31' Afghanistan's goalkeeper plays a long ball which dissects the Indian defence but Pritam makes sure there is no end product.

28' Chhetri tries to find Mandar on the left but it is straight at the David. The Indian captain has been kept quiet so far. The overlapping runs by the Indian fullbacks have led to the creation of chances so far. India needs more movement in the central areas.

26' Just over! Better play from the India forwards. Sahal steals the ball on the edge of the box and lays it off to Ashique who goes for the far post as his shot flies inches wide off the top corner.

25' Another unnecessary tackle by Mandar gives away a free kick for Afghanistan just outside the box. Shayastey's ball near the goal but Adil gets ahead of his marker to clear the danger.

24' Udanta plays a one-two with Pritam on the right but is taken off the ball Hassan Amin. Both the teams have found it difficult to get the final ball.

22' David Najem gets the ball on the right and hits a cross across the goal, but there is too much weight on it and Gurpreet is not troubled.

20' Adil gets a headed clearance outside the box but it is straight in the path of Farshad Noor who takes a stab at the goal. However, there is no real power behind his shot and Gurpreet lets it roll out for a goal-kick.

19' Afghansitan gets a spell of possession as Noor Husin sends in a cross fizzing from the left flank. However, Brandon is in place to head it away.

17' Mandar brings down Adam Najem on the right and India has to deal with a free kick from a dangerous position. Faisal Shayesteh curls the ball towards the near post but Chhetri heads it away to safety.

15' The Afghans create a cluster by blocking Gurpreet's vision in the goal. The corner kick loops in at the far post but the red shirts are unable to create a chance out of it.

14' Afghanistan gets the ball near the box and Haydari forces Mandar to kick the ball out for a corner.

10' Gurpreet is called into action once again after Chhetri loses the ball in the middle Haydari gets close but is goes down after Gurpreet slides across the goal to steal the ball off his feet.

9' Afghanistan wins the first corner kick of the match, but Adil Khan manages to head away, which comes back as Gurpreet plucks it out of air.

8' Chhetri finds Mandar on the left who tries to turn his opposition full back which results in a free kick to the Afghans.

6' Afghanistan is quickly on the counter as Omid Popalzy chases the goalkeeper's throw from the box. However, Mandar manages to get the forward off the ball.

4' Adil tries a long ball from the back in an attempt to find Ashique on the right but the Afghans clear it. Pritam gets near the byline and crosses it towards the goal mouth but he does not have his teammates to get on the end of it.

2' Sahal gets the first touch in the final third but he quickly hauled off the ball by the Afghan defence. India retracts into its own half to build from the back.

1' Here we go! India begins the proceedings from right to left.

* Smog engulfs the Central Republic Stadium in Dushanbe as the players get ready for the kick-off.

* The teams are out on the pitch for the national anthems....

* A quick update on the standings. India is currently fourth in the Group E of the FIFA 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers Round 2 below Qatar, Oman and Afghanistan. The Sunil Chhetri-led side has not won any of its three matches so far. A 2-1 loss to Oman was followed by a 0-0 draw to Qatar while the last match against Bangladesh at Kolkata ended in a 1-1 draw. India needs nothing less than a win today if it has to keep its chances alive.

Lineups:

India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Pritam Kotal, Brandon Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Mandar Rao Dessai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri

Afghanistan: Ovays Azizi (GK), Hassan Amin, Haroon Amiri, David Najem, Zelfy Nazary, Sharif Muhammad, Noor Husin, Farshad Noor, Omid Popalzy, Faisal Shayesteh, Omran Haydari

Know the match timings, venue and the TV schedule for the match here.

Playing conditions and weather

Tajikistan city of Dushanbe will prove tricky for the visiting Indian national football team. The current temperature is 13 °C and is expected to drop as the evening progresses. Warm up will be key for the Indian players who have not played on artificial turf in a while. Ball control and anticipating the bounce will be the first big challenge for the players while they have to be mindful of the strain on their legs on a surface harder than natural grass. In 2017, Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers played an I-League game on artificial turf at the Barasat Stadium in West Bengal which led to four of Bagan players being injured.

PREVIEW

Struggling to find consistency in a winless campaign so far, the Indian football team needs nothing less than a win in its crunch Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying round match against Afghanistan to be played in freezing temperatures in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday.

India began the second round of the qualifiers with a narrow 1-2 defeat to higher-ranked Oman before a memorable goal-less draw against Asian champion Qatar in Doha 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 neighbour Bangladesh in Kolkata on October 15 came as a dampener.

Had it not been for Adil Khan’s last-gasp header in the 88th minute, Igor Stimac’s side would have utterly disappointed the capacity crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium.

ALSO READ | Adil Khan: I would like to score a few more goals for India

The team is currently placed fourth in the Group E table with two points from three matches. With the runner-up in the five-team group not even assured of a third round slot, India cannot afford to lose against Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, 149th in FIFA rankings against India's 106, is placed third in the group with one win and two losses.

Stimac understands his team cannot afford to slip at any cost.

"It will not come to us, rather we need to go and snatch it. It’s always about us and our performance to achieve something," the Croatian said.

ALSO READ | Sahal - the 'bridge' between India's defence and attack

The war-ravaged Afghanistan chose Dushanbe as its home venue and the match will be played on artificial turf amid freezing temperatures. This has added to the woes of Stimac, whose players are not used to these playing conditions.

"It’s very cold and mercury level drops to closer to sub-zero,"Stimac said.

“Moreover, 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 added.

Captain Sunil Chhetri said the players will have to convert the chances they get, something that they couldn’t do against Bangladesh.

“We are creating chances. But that’s not enough. We have to try our best to convert them and try to be a tougher unit while defending,” Chhetri said.

ALSO READ | Converting chances a concern for India skipper Sunil Chhetri

India also suffered a jolt after central defender Anas Edathodika had to return home from Dubai, where the team had a stopover on way to Dushanbe, due to the death of his mother.

Anas was a long-time partner of the imposing Sandesh Jhingan, who is currently recovering from an injury.

The team is also without key mid-fielder Rowllin Borges, who is also nursing an injury.

Historically, India enjoys a good record against Afghanistan. The two teams have faced each other eight times out of which India have emerged victorious on six occasions. They have drawn once and lost on one occasion.

But the last time the two sides played against each other, Afghanistan had won 2-0 in the 2013 SAFF Championship final.

Afghanistan will come into this match after beating Bangladesh 1-0. It had lost heavily to Oman (0-3) and Qatar (0-6) in its earlier matches.

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Its most capped player Haroon Amiri is a known face for the Indian players as he has played in the country for a long time, starting 2011. He played in the inaugural Indian Super League in 2014 for FC Goa and has joined I-League side Gokulam Kerala FC for this season.

Amiri has 48 international appearances to his credit.

Captain Farshad Noor graduated from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven’s youth system though he never played for the senior team in the two seasons he was there from 2013.

Noor is currently plying his trade with Cypriot’s first division club Nea Salamis. The 25-year-old midfielder has scored Afghanistan’s only goal in the World Cup qualifiers so far, against Bangladesh.

The Indian Squad:

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.