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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Ratings: Sunil, Brandon shine in India's dull performance against Afghanistan in FIFA WC Qualifiers

Published at :March 26, 2024 at 9:27 PM
Modified at :March 26, 2024 at 9:27 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF media)

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Sunil Chhetri scored his 94th goal for India on his 150th appearance.

India suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in their FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier second-round clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. The Blue Tigers refreshingly started the game and took the lead in the 38th minute through Sunil Chhetri’s penalty.

However, failing to convert chances and double the lead came back to haunt Igor Stimac’s side. Afghanistan scored a fortunate equalizer through Rahmat Akbari’s deflected effort in the 70th minute. After that, the Lions of Khorasam earned a penalty which Sharif Mukammad converted in the 88th minute to get a famous win over India. Here are the Player Ratings from the game.

India (by Uttiyo Sarkar)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – 5.0

Gurpreet couldn’t do much to stop Afghanistan’s goal, a frustrating deflected effort, but was sharp in his goal throughout. He made a couple of brilliant diving saves to keep the visitors at bay, but then gave away a penalty with a silly challenge – ruining a very solid performance.

Nikhil Poojary – 6.5

Poojary did a pretty decent job at keeping Afghanistan’s movement neutralized on his side, not allowing the opposition players to hassle him. Worked hard going up and down the pitch, creating a few nice chances with his crosses too.

Rahul Bheke – 4.5

Bheke was not able to prove himself as Sandesh Jhingan’s successor and failed to really maintain a compact defensive shape. Despite a few impressive clearances, he was quite passive with his defending and unfortunate to deflect the shot for Afghanistan’s goal.

Anwar Ali – 4.5

Anwar initially looked quite stable at the back, reading the game well and making key clearances. However, his concentration levels dropped in the second half and he completely lost his marker leading to Afghanistan getting the late penalty.

Subashish Bose – 6.0

Subashish was a proactive figure on the left, as he created some decent chances with his surprising forward passes. He was disciplined on the left, putting in some key clearances to frustrate the visitors.

Jeakson Singh – 6.0

Jeakson held himself well against the physical Afghanistan side but was outmuscled on a few duels. Moved the ball forward nicely, but could’ve perhaps done a bit better dropping deeper to help his backline.

Lalengmawia Ralte – 5.0

Apuia did not have a comfortable outing against the Afghani players, who seemingly rattled him with their physical challenges. Couldn’t create much and lost quite a few defensive duels.

Brandon Fernandes – 7.5

Brandon caused a lot of trouble with his creativity and was at the heart of some of India’s best attacks. His unpredictable passes and stellar set-piece delivery helped create multiple big chances – none of which were unfortunately converted.

Manvir Singh – 4.5

Manvir was a frustrating figure to watch, as he blasted an easy scoring chance into the stands early on. Bit fortunate that his cross hit Amiri’s hand to result in India’s penalty, but not involved in anything exciting apart from that. Failed to convert a few chances he got in the second half and just lacked that special touch.

Liston Colaco – 6.5

Liston caused a lot of trouble with his movement, forcing the Afghani defenders to bring him down and grant India set-pieces. Despite his sizzling runs, Liston lacked that special something with his shots.

Sunil Chhetri – 8.0

In his historic 150th appearance for India, Chhetri played with the same vigor as he did in his debut. He troubled Afghanistan with his off-the-ball movement and linked up nicely. Converted the penalty perfectly to break India’s goal-scoring drought in 2024.

Substitutes

Naorem Mahesh Singh – 6.0

Mahesh added a bit more unpredictability on the left, making some nice runs and dipping in inviting crosse that nobody could pounce on.

Anirudh Thapa – 5.0

Thapa passed the ball along nicely but failed to create much or bring any goal-scoring threat towards the end.

Lallianzuala Chhangte – 5.5

Chhangte energized the Indian attack with his promising runs but was boxed out from being able to do much in the box.

Vikram Pratap Singh – N/R

Vikram Pratap only came on for the final few minutes and failed to impose himself in the game in a difficult situation.

Afghanistan Ratings (By Gourav Samal)

Ovays Azizi – 7.5

Except for the penalty shot by Sunil Chhetri, Azizi never looked like missing any threat from the Indian side. He looked very composed under pressure. 

Habibulla Askar – 7

Askar kept on toiling hard to keep the Indian players away from scoring with his clinical tackles at the right moment inside the box.

M. Sharif Mukhammad – 7.5

Mukhammad took the responsibility to take the penalty and also converted it to give Afghanistan a much-needed win in the match. 

Haroon Amiri – 7

The captain has been their best player on the field in both matches. Although he gave away a penalty, his presence on the pitch has helped the Afghanistan side to keep their nerves under control. 

Mahboob Hanifi – 6.5

Hanifi received a yellow in the match but irrespective of that he kept India’s right flank under control with his time-to-time interceptions. 

Taufee Skandari – 7

Skandari created some chances with his crosses in the match but none were converted. 

Rahmat Akbari – 7.5

Akbari scored the first goal for the Afghanistan side and equalized the score in the 70th minute which opened the game.  

Zelfagar Nazary – 7

Nazary was at his best in the second half of play compared to the first half. He looked to control the ball more with the short passes than going for long shots.

Mosawer Ahadi – 7.5

Ahadi was instrumental in Afghanistan’s attack. He kept on running hard on the pitch and creating numerous chances for the team. 

Abar Sharza – 7

Sharza had his chances in the middle and also took some shots at the target but couldn’t find the back net once. 

Omid Popalzay – 6.5

Popalzay had a beautiful chance of scoring a goal in the second half but wasted it with a weak shot that didn’t even put Gurpreet under any pressure. 

Substitute

Fareed Sadat – 6

Sadat replaced Popalzay in the 65th minute and immediately took the game under control with his skills and fresh legs. 

Siar Sadat – 5.5

Sadat replaced Habibulla Askar in the 77th minute of play. He was seen putting all the effort in the final minutes to keep the Indian attack at bay and away from the box. 

Jamshed Asekzai – N/A

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