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Indian Football Team held to frustrating draw by Afghanistan in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Indian Football Team held to frustrating draw by Afghanistan in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Despite the disappointing result, India Football Team climbed to second place in Group A with four points from three matches.

The Indian Football Team‘s quest for a vital win in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers was halted on Friday, as they were held to a goalless draw by Afghanistan in Abha, Saudi Arabia. This was India’s third FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 match.

Indian Football Team secure points but…

Despite the disappointing result, India Football Team climbed to second place in Group A with four points from three matches. However, the missed chances left a bitter taste, especially considering the opportunity to create a significant gap over rivals Kuwait.

Fierce Battle from the Start

The match was a tight affair from the beginning, with both teams vying for control in the midfield. India opted for a passing game, while Afghanistan used their physicality and pace to their advantage.

Vikram Partap Singh, a newcomer to the national team, impressed in his starting debut. His constant movement and ability to switch positions kept the Afghan defense on their toes. He created several scoring opportunities, but unfortunately, couldn’t convert on any.

Both Teams fail to Capitalize

Afghanistan also had their fair share of opportunities, primarily on counter-attacks. India’s custodian, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, stood firm when called upon, denying Mosawer Ahadi a goal with a crucial save.

Second Half Woes: India creates, But doesn’t Finish

The story continued in the second half. Manvir Singh and Vikram Partap Singh again had golden opportunities to score, but their efforts went wide or just off target. Substitute Subhasish Bose also came close with a header that narrowly missed the mark.

Coach Igor Stimac threw in fresh legs late in the game, with Liston Colaco, Mahesh Naorem, and Deepak Tangri entering the fray. Colaco provided some attacking impetus down the right flank, but the Afghan defense held strong.

Looking Ahead: Return Match in Guwahati

With the score tied at 0-0, both teams will now head to Guwahati, India, where they will face off again on March 26th. The Blue Tigers will be determined to convert their chances and secure a crucial victory in front of their home crowd.

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