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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Throwback to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's heroics against Qatar in 2019

Published at :June 10, 2024 at 9:24 PM
Modified at :June 10, 2024 at 9:24 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF media)

Manav Chowdhury

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will carry the captain’s armband for India against Qatar tomorrow.

The Indian football team will face the current Asian Champions Qatar in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

This match will be the last match of the Round 2 in the Qualifiers and the Blue Tigers will have a great opportunity to play in the third round of qualifiers if they can beat the Maroons.

However, the Indian side’s performance this year has been awful as they have lost some crucial encounters and dropped their FIFA rankings.

The Indian number one Gurpreet Singh Sandhu performed very well against the Maroons in 2019 when the Indian team faced Qatar in their home ground and earned a historic draw against them. It was a night to remember for the Indian football fans as nobody expected the Blue Tigers to perform like this.

Throwback to the fixture

In this encounter, the Indian team didn’t have Sunil Chhetri in the squad because he was suffering from illness. The captain watched the game from the stands as India produced a rearguard display to come away with a point.

In the first half, the Indians were prepared to sit back, absorb the pressure, and wait for the opportunities to get up the pitch. Qatar came out all guns blazing and created plenty of chances. The visitors were heavily reliant on its stand-in captain and goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, to deny Qatar from taking the lead.

Qatar registered 27 shots in comparison to two from the opposition but Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the star of the show as he bailed his team out of trouble on multiple occasions with some excellent saves, he saved 11 shots on target from Qatar.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu single-handedly stopped the Qataris from scoring any goal in the Group E match which will be remembered for long by the Indians.

What has changed since then?

Even though there are some new faces in the Indian team right now their performance has been very poor as they have not been able to beat teams of lower ranking as well.

The Blue Tigers led by Igor Stimac were not able to score even a goal in the Asian Cup and lost all three matches, also they dropped in the FIFA rankings as well. In the World Cup Qualifiers, the Blue Tigers lost to Afghanistan and also drew with Kuwait in the home game which makes the task of qualifying in the third round even more difficult.

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