The Indian football team played out a 0-0 draw against Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualification Round 2 at the Damac Stadium in Abha, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

Both sides failed to show their composure in the attacking third, and as a result, they couldn't capitalize on the handful of chances they created throughout the game.

In the first half, Ashley Westwood’s team focused on constraining the Indian midfield, while effectively capitalizing on counterattacks through both wings. This allowed them to generate a couple of scoring opportunities early on, utilizing the speed of forwards Mosawer Ahadi and Omid Popalzay.

As the match unfolded, the Blue Tigers looked to take control, with Manvir Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte attempting to exploit the flanks. India had their first chance in the 16th minute when Chhangte found Manvir inside the box, but the latter's headed flick flew wide. A couple of minutes later, Stimac’s men missed another half chance, this time with Rahul Bheke unable to keep Chhangte’s corner on target.

Chhangte, Manvir Singh, and Nikhil Poojary combined well before the break. However, Singh's effort in the 41st minute from Poojary's cross missed the target again.

The Lions of Khorasan could have changed the scoreline just before halftime with Jabar Sharza, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu managed to punch out Sharza’s powerful strike. However, the score remained unchanged after the first 45 minutes.

Entering the second half, India continued to apply pressure, maintaining possession. Vikram Partap Singh missed a chance to break the deadlock, unable to direct Akash Mishra’s cross into the open goalmouth.

Afghanistan also had their chances in the second half, but their lack of precision in the final third prevented them from converting scoring opportunities. In the 62nd minute, Rahmat Akbari received a brilliant through ball, catching Subhasish Bose out of position, and passed it to Omid Popalzay, but India's defence managed to keep the scoreline level.

The visitors had another significant chance in the 78th minute, arguably their best opportunity of the night, with substitute defender Bose failing to guide his header inside the box from close range, which prevented India from breaking the deadlock.

However, the Croatian head coach tried to make some impact by bringing in Liston Colaco, Brandon Fernandes, and Naorem Mahesh Singh, but his men fell short of scoring the opener as the match ended with a 0-0 scoreline in Abha. With this point, they moved up to the second spot in Group A with four points from three games.

The Blue Tigers will host the Lions of Khorasan in the reverse fixture at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on March 26.