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Football

India vs. Afghanistan: Post Match Review

India needed a point to go to the next round of the Asian Cup qualifiers, and got the job done in Doha.

Indian football team  (Source: AIFF Media)
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Indian football team  (Source: AIFF Media)

By

Siddharth Mishra

Published: 16 Jun 2021 7:53 AM GMT

A goalkeeping howler from Ovays Azizi in the 75th minute of the game saw India take the lead, but a late equalizer from the Afghan teenage sensation Damani gave them hope. However, India managed to hold on to the result and qualified for the third-round qualifiers of the AFC Asian Cup 2023. It was not the result India would have expected, but they managed to get the job done.

India started on the front foot and threatened the Afghanistan goal in the first twenty minutes, but after that, it all faded out. It looked like Afghanistan had come up with a plan, and it was working fine for them until Ovayys Azizi dropped the ball into his own net for the own goal. India had got an undeserved lead, but it only lasted for seven minutes. Hossein Zamani got past one defender and curled it into the top corner, with Gurpreet Singh having no chance to save it. The last ten minutes would have been a very long ten minutes for India, but they managed to hold on to qualify for the next round of qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup.

On paper, it looked like it would have been an easy win for India because they were facing a team that is ranked 40 places below them, but on the ground, it looked the opposite. Afghanistan looked more confident on the ball; they were ready to take risks and try to convert those half-chances into shots on goal. Maybe not for that own goal; things might have been different the Afghans and would have been worse for India.
The Blue Tigers were not clinical enough, and the players were not ready to take risks and open the game. Glan Martins was a shining light for India, he was making that defense splitting passes, but Ashique, Manvir, and others could not capitalize on it. In addition, the substitutions made Stimach appeared slightly defensive and did not impact the game the way he would have expected.

What stands out is that India got the job done. India finished third in Group E of the joint FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers and has secured a place in the next round of Asian Cup qualifiers.
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