Qatar vs India: Qatar golden stars to watch out for

From the 2019 Asian Cup's top-scorer Almoez Ali to the wily Akram Afif, here are a few players to watch out for in Tuesday's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash between Qatar and India.

Almoez Ali (19) has been Qatar's star striker, having scored close to 50 per cent of the nation's goals this year.   -  Reuters

Asian Cup champion Qatar will host India in a Group E 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash at Doha's Al-Sadd Stadium on Tuesday.

The 2022 World Cup host arrives on the back of a dominating 6-0 triumph over Afghanistan, while India fell to a 2-1 loss to Oman in the opening round of fixtures.

The home side, which had played as a guest team at the Copa America this year, is expected to cruise to a win, but Igor Stimac's new-look vibrant India will not go down without a fight.

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The Qatar side will be led by midfield mainstay Hasan Al-Haydos, who will be accompanied by Akram Afif, Assim Madebo and Boualem Khoukhi. Almoez Ali will lead the goal-scoring duties along with Yusuf Abdurisag. The defence, on the other hand, will feature the likes of Pedro Correia, Hassan Abdelkarim, Karim Boudiaf and Tarek Salman and Saad Al Sheeb will man the posts. The home side is likely to play a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation. 

Here are three Qatari players to watch out for:

1) Almoez Ali - If you had followed this January's Asian Cup, you know just how dangerous Almoez is. With a nose for goals, the 22-year-old struck nine times in his side's tournament triumph. The feat made him Asian Cup's most successful striker ever, going past Iranian legend Ali Daei.

With Almoez scoring a hat-trick against Afghanistan last week, it goes without saying that India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will have to be at his absolute best to keep the charismatic striker at bay.

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2) Akram Afif - What Xavi was to Lionel Messi, Akram Afif is to Almoez Ali. Afif and Ali have been teammates since their junior days and share a telepathic connect. Known for his wily footwork and accurate passing, he will play a pivotal role in midfield. And mind you, he's not shy of taking a shot either. Sandesh Jhingan, watch out for him!

3) Saad Al Sheeb - Qatar's custodian Al Sheeb had a terrific Asian Cup, conceding just one goal, that too in the final against Japan. Protected by a solid defensive line, Al Sheeb is unlikely to be troubled. While he did concede a few goals during the Copa America, that was against heavyweights like Argentina and Colombia - who are regulars at  World Cups.

India, on the other hand, is likely to miss skipper Sunil Chhetri's services and will have to find a new goalscorer. Will we see the emergence of a new hero on Tuesday night?

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