2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Numbers behind India’s historic draw against Qatar
The odds were stacked up against India and without Sunil Chhetri, the task was even more difficult. But Igor Stimac’s troops managed to pull off the unthinkable.
Tuesday night was a memorable night for all Indian football fans. And why not, the way Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Co. managed to hold Qatar to a goalless draw was highly commendable.
Without skipper Sunil Chhetri and the impressive Ashique Kuruniyan, the Men in Blue faced a mammoth task. Qatar, arguably one of the best Asian teams at the moment, had been on a super run of form, especially at home. But Igor Stimac’s troops managed to pull off the unthinkable.
Here are some key stats from the clash:
4 - India is only the fourth country after Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to walk away with a clean sheet against Qatar in 2019.
8 - Number of games Qatar won on the trot on Asian soil in 2019 before Tuesday’s draw.
11 - Saves made by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu through the match. The Indian custodian was spectacular between the sticks, stopping everything that was thrown at him and keeping the Maroons at bay.
25 - Total number of goals that Qatar has scored in the 8 matches they played on Asian soil before Tuesday, averaging 3.125 goals per match. But against India, they failed to score any.
27 - Total number of attempts on goal by Qatar. The hosts dominated the proceedings early on, making attack after attack and yet failed to break the deadlock. They threw everything they had but the Indian backline produced a gritty performance and managed to thwart all attacks.
92 - The percentage of the stadium that was allotted for home fans. Indian fans were only allotted 8% of the total number of tickets, thus indicating the kind of pressure the Blue Tigers were under when on the pitch. At the end, though, it was the minor portion of the fans who were celebrating while the major portion was left mostly stunned.
Keeping the stats aside, in the bigger scheme of things, of course, India’s draw against reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar does not mean much. It’s just India’s first point in the 2nd round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC). However — given Qatar’s pedigree — the fact that India managed to hold a team 31 places above them in the FIFA rankings to a 0-0 draw indicates the rapid growth of Indian football in recent times.