The Blue Tigers produced one of their most impressive defensive performances of recent times to force the Asian champions to a draw.
India delivered one of their most solid, resilient and mature performances in recent years to hold reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar to a goalless draw in their own backyard, massively improving on the errors made in their previous game against Oman.
No matter how many waves of attacks came from the hosts, the defenders were up for it on every occasion and replied with equal force. Igor Stimac’s men fought like a unit, their hearts beat as one against the daunting challenge of Qatar, who could not penetrate the Indian defence which stood fast, showing unwavering resolve against the 27 shots that were attempted by Feliz Sanchez’s men.
Watch: Qatar Vs India post-match analysis
There were individuals in the team who punched way above their weight, executed the strategy to the letter and came away with a deserving point from Doha.
Here are the player ratings from India’s second game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Qatar.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – 9.0
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu delivered one of his best performances in national colours. The captain on the night led from the front and was immense to India’s survival against Qatar’s waves of attacks. The custodian put in an effortless performance and made a total of 11 saves, earning him a well deserved clean-sheet.
Rahul Bheke – 6.5
Playing as almost a right-sided centre-back at times, Rahul Bheke played his role well in a defence that collectively remained focused and together. He was up against opposition captain Al-Haydos, who was in good rhythm, but the 28-year-old did not allow him space as the game developed.
Sandesh Jhingan – 8.0
Sandesh Jhingan’s leadership at the back was on show, as the centre-back kept his defenders in line and did not let the immense pressure from the Qatari attackers bait him into making rash challenges or giving away cheap fouls. The seasoned defender was effective in winning aerial balls and his positioning was brilliant as well.
Adil Khan – 7.5
The centre-back pairing in the heart of the Indian back four was in superb synergy, which was badly needed to silence the likes of Almoez Ali and Co. Adil Khan was quick to read danger and also made important interceptions and last-ditch tackles, that helped his team recover from intense pressure.
Mandar Rao Dessai – 6.5
Him being chosen ahead of Subhasish Bose in such a crucial game meant that the tactician showed a lot of faith in Mandar Rao Dessai. The full-back had to shift inside and play as a centre-back on several occasions. Although, he showed nerves early on, the 27-year-old settled down as the game progressed.
Rowlin Borges – 7.0
Rowlin Borges had to provide the important cover to the backline and he did that efficiently. The 27-year-old went into 50-50 situations confidently and used his frame well. He needs to be more careful with his challenges however, especially in dangerous areas, where conceding free-kicks could be harmful. He was also handed a yellow card for a rash tackle from behind.
Anirudh Thapa – 7.0
Anirudh Thapa was everywhere, running his socks off in the attempt to close down space and prevent the Qatar midfielders from dominating the middle of the park. The 21-year-old was immense, as he was crucial in recovering loose balls and thanks to his work rate, India were able to produce quick counter-attacks which could have hurt the opposition.
Sahal Abdul Samad – 7.0
Proving himself to be India’s most creative option in midfield, Sahal Abdul Samad looked very dangerous in the final third due to his technical prowess and eye for penetrating accurate through-balls. His defensive efforts was also worth applause, as they helped the Blue Tigers keep their opponents in check.
Udanta Singh – 7.0
As expected, Udanta Singh’s contest against Abdelkarim Hassan was mouth-watering and the pacey winger found space behind the full-back several times, mainly in the second half. He also came closest to scoring for the visitors after his left-footed curler almost found the back of the net.
Nikhil Poojary – 6.0
Nikhil Poojary started the game as a replacement for Ashique Kuruniyan, who was unavailable due to a muscle strain. The 24-year-old looked nervy on the ball and had to defend a lot, where he was out of his depth.
Manvir Singh – 6.5
Manvir Singh lead the forward line, replacing Sunil Chhetri who could not play due to an illness. The forward ran his socks off and was a menace, particularly in the air. He combined well on occasions with Udanta and Sahal and looks like a decent backup plan whenever required.
Brandon Fernandes – 6.0
Could not contribute much attack-wise, but the substitute was astute defensively and helped his backline to keep the opposition at bay.
Vinit Rai – 6.0
Vinit Rai was brought in for a tiring Sahal and he did his job well in the middle of the park by keeping a good shape off the ball.
Narender Gehlot – NA
Brought on too late as a defensive cover to see out the game.
Al Sheeb (GK) – 5.5
On a night where his side dominated the possession, the custodian did not have a lot to do, as he faced only two shots and was not challenged much apart from recovering overhit through-balls behind the defence.
Pedero Carvalho (Ro Ro) – 6.5
The Portuguese-born full-back was solid in defence, dominated the right wing, but failed to find a head at the end of his crosses.
Tarek Salman – 7.5
Tarek Salman was calm in possession and defended higher up the pitch, alongside his center-back pairing in order to keep up the pressure on the Indians. His speed and reading of the game helped him keep the opposition attackers silent.
Bassam Al-Rawi – 7.0
Bassam Al-Rawi found himself on the end of several dead ball situations, but failed to capitalize on the opportunities. He cut a frustrated figure as the game went on, but he performed his defensive duties well, especially an important late tackle on Udanta Singh.
Abdelkarim Hassan – 7.5
A constant threat down the left flank, the marauding full-back attempted a lot of crosses and shots from range, but failed to crack the solid Indian defence.
Assim Madibo – 6.0
Assim Madibo was a tireless operator and was quick to recover the ball, but he was lucky to stay on the pitch after a bad foul on Sahal was only punished with a yellow card.
Boualem Khoukhi – 6.0
Boualem Khoukhi was efficient in his defensive duties, but looked to lack ideas in the final third after he, along with the rest of his teammates were frustrated by the solid Indian backline. A wasteful second half performance did not help his side.
Abdulaziz Hatem – 7.0
The central midfielder came very close on two occasions due to his long range shooting capabilities, where one curling shot just missed the top corner and the second, which was hit with immense power was saved by the indomitable Gurpreet.
Hassan Al-Haydos – 8.0
The skipper was relentless in the first half with his crosses from the left flank and was a constant threat due to his passing and movement. Bheke found it tough to deal with the nimble attacker, who was the best performer for the Maroons on the night. His second half display however, was reflective of the frustration that the whole team was feeling.
Yousef Abdurisag – 6.0
Yousef Abdurisag found himself in good crossing positions on several occasions early in the game and his quick movement caused a few problems to the opposition defender. But, the attacker seemed to fade away and failed to impact the game as he had hoped.
Almoez Ali – 6.5
Perhaps the biggest threat on paper, especially after his hat-trick in the opener against Afghanistan. But, the prolific striker blanked on the night and was efficiently dealt with by the Indian defenders, who did not allow the dangerous forward any time and space.
Ismail Mohammed – 5.0
The substitute tried to add more attacking options from the right wing, but failed to deliver that one cross which was guided by one of his teammates into the back of the net.
Ahmed Alaaeldin – 5.5
Ahmed Alaaeldin was subbed in as an extra striking option, but the attacker failed to make his mark and hit one of his headers way over the bar.