India make it to the third round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after a 1-1 draw with Afghanistan
India and Afghanistan played out a 1-1 draw in their 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifier at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday night. India went ahead through an own goal from Ovays Azizi in the 75th minute of the game. Hossein Zamani restored parity seven minutes later for the Afghans. With that result – in what was the last Round 2-Group E game for either team – India finished third in the group behind Qatar and Oman and directly qualified for the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
- Both teams played with aggressive intent.
- By means of an Afghanistan own goal, India broke the deadlock in the 75th minute.
- However in the 82nd minute, a brilliant strike from Hossein Zamani made it 1-1.
The Indians showed their aggressive intentions right from the start and went on to earn a corner in the second minute of the game but sadly nothing came of it. After both teams spent some time in the middle of the park, India earned another corner in the ninth minute but just like last time, Brandon Fernandes’ ball-in didn’t bear any fruit.
The first big opportunity for India came in the 10th minute of the game as an alert Glan Martins intercepted and guided the ball at once to Sunil Chhetri and the Indian skipper on the left took a nice shot only for goalkeeper Azizi to put it out for a corner. The following action again failed to get a desired result from an Indian point of view.
Afghanistan all this while looked alright but couldn’t find ways to get into India’s penalty box, meaning Sandesh Jhingan & co. were spot on with their job at the back.
Brandon then almost found Chhetri through a long ball in the 23rd minute after which Afghanistan conceded back-to-back corners, however, the opening goal continued to elude Igor Stimac’s men. In the 31st minute, the Afghans threw a big scare into the Indians by means of a counter-attacking move, which to the relief of Indian fans, eventually proved to be a false alarm.
Afghanistan had another opportunity a few minutes later after Chinglensana Singh conceded a free-kick. Faysal Shayesteh, however, found the wall out for a throw-in. The very next minute Rahul Bheke, returning from suspension, also conceded a free-kick and this time India needed Jhingan to bail them out. To all intents and purposes, the Afghans were dictating terms at this period of the game. However, a lack of clear-cut opportunities for either team meant the scoreline remained 0-0 at the break.
The start to the second half, in many ways, was no different from that of the first with both teams looking to attack and break the deadlock but there was no good news to greet the either camp. Brandon launched another beautiful ball in the 61st minute of the game, however, Zohib Islam Amiri was equal to the task as he headed the ball out for a corner. After the corner, Brandon made way for Lalengmawia.
In the 68th minute of the game, Chhetri, after Amiri brought down Ashique Kuruniyan on the left and conceded a free-kick, saw his attempt go over the crossbar. Shortly after this, the Indian skipper was replaced by Liston Colaco who made an impression straight away through a beautiful ball in -- out of Suresh Wangjam’s reach though.
India finally broke the deadlock in the 75th minute after the Afghan goalkeeper made a mess of what appeared a simple ball in from Kuruniyan from the left: the ball slipped through his hands and went into the net off his leg.
There was more drama in store as seven minutes later Zamani latched onto a Noor Husin cutback from the left and smashed it past India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into the far corner to make it 1-1. Manvir Singh then saw his header sail over the bar in the last minute of regulation time and that proved to be the game’s last significant piece of action as both teams shared the points.