2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Qatar vs India — Captain Sunil Chhetri likely to miss important clash
Sunil Chhetri did not feature in the practice sessions in Doha in the run-up to the match due to an injury problem and could miss out against Qatar as well.
The Indian football team has been reportedly handed a huge blow just ahead of their most important clash against Qatar in the 2nd round of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. As reported by goal.com, captain Sunil Chhetri is unlikely to feature in the high profile fixture.
The Bengaluru FC man missed the practice sessions in Doha in the run-up to the match due to an injury problem and could miss out against Qatar as well. It has been further reported that head coach Igor Stimac will be taking a call on Chhetri's fitness just before the match but there has been no news on the extent or kind of his injury.
The 35-year-old striker has been in fine form in front of the goal. Most recently, he netted his 72nd international goal against Oman in the previous match which put India in the lead. Oman would, however, go on to win the match, courtesy of two late goals.
Having lost the first match of their qualifying campaign, it is imperative that Stimac and his men return with something from Qatar. But in Chhetri's absence, the squad would have their task cut out.
If Chhetri does miss out on the action, the onus will fall on Balwant Singh and Manvir Singh to breach Qatar's defence. Another option for Stimac would be to start Lallianzuala Chhangte on the left flank and put Ashique Kuruniyan in centre forward.
Qatar are currently one of the strongest teams in Asia. They are the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions and for a reason. In their opening match, the brushed past Afghanistan, banging in half a dozen goals.
On top of that, the match will be played in front of thousands of Qatar fans. Only 8% of the tickets were allotted for the Indian fans (which were sold out within 5 hours of the sale going live) which clearly indicates the kind of reception the Blue Tigers will get.