India and Afghanistan play goalless draw in depleted teams clash

India’s Men’s National Football Team Draws 0-0 Against Afghanistan in World Cup Qualifier

India’s men’s national football team faced off against Afghanistan in a World Cup Qualifier match on March 21st, resulting in a goalless draw. The game took place in Saudi Arabia, with both teams squandering opportunities and settling for a point each.

The Blue Tigers came into the fixture following a mixed Asian Cup campaign, needing positive results after a historic away win against Kuwait and a loss to Qatar. Missing key players like Sahal Abdul Samad and Sandesh Jhingan, India looked to secure crucial points against Afghanistan to progress in Group A.

In contrast, Afghanistan, depleted and plagued by off-field issues, aimed to bounce back from heavy defeats in previous fixtures. Despite the absence of key players, head coach Ashley Westwood’s side put up a spirited display, holding India to a draw.

The match, played amidst heavy rain, saw chances for both sides early on, with Rahmat Akbari coming close for Afghanistan. India responded with crosses and headers, but failed to convert their opportunities. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made key saves for India, keeping the hosts at bay.

As the second half unfolded, both teams struggled to break the deadlock. India’s attacking efforts through crosses fell short, while Afghanistan threatened on the counter without capitalizing. A late surge from India was in vain, as the final whistle blew, sealing a frustrating result for both sides.

The draw, against a crisis-hit Afghanistan team, leaves India’s World Cup Qualifying hopes in jeopardy. Coach Igor Stimac lamented the team’s lack of scoring prowess, emphasizing the need for improvement in the attacking third. With crucial fixtures against Afghanistan and Kuwait on the horizon, India faces an uphill battle to advance in the qualifiers.

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