India held Qatar despite missing players like Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri and Subhasish Bose.
The Indian national team held AFC Asian Cup champions and Group E favourites Qatar in their own den, as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Co. blocked everything that was thrown towards them by the home team.
Gurpreet, captaining the side in the absence of Sunil Chhetri due to an injury, particularly did well to get his side a point against all the odds. The Blue Tigers, after having been left shell-shocked by conceding twice in the final eight minutes of the game against Oman in Guwahati, sorted out their defensive issues to keep a clean-sheet.
The Indian fans were surprised by the resilience and grit shown by their team in difficult conditions.
Delighted with the result, one as big as it could have been, Indian fans, players and the team’s coaching staff took to Twitter to express their joy.
Below are some of the reactions from Twitter:
Igor Stimac was perhaps the first one to celebrate the ‘victory’ and congratulate his team for what they did in the game.
Jai Hind!! ???????????????????????? We dream and it’s our Dream together INDIA!! Proud of my boys and proud of the fans!! Thanks to all who believe & support us all. We all are together & We will achieve the dream together!! #FIFAWCQ2022 #QATIND #BackTheBlue ???? https://t.co/UxJOcuuOEf
— Igor Štimac (@stimac_igor) September 10, 2019
Not just the current manager, but also the former English head coach of the Indian national team, Stephen Constantine congratulated the side for their performance.
Always, I have nothing but love for the boys https://t.co/A1FIt23xbD
— StephenConstantine (@StephenConstan) September 10, 2019
Regular captain Sunil Chhetri was missed in attack, as the 35-year-old was left out of the starting XI due to illness. But, the captain did celebrate the point, as if it was a victory by writing some proud words for his team and the staff.
Dear India, THAT is my team and THOSE are my boys! Cannot describe how proud I am at this moment. Not a big result for the table, but in terms of a fight, as big as it can get. Huge credit to the coaching staff and the dressing room. #QATIND
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) September 10, 2019
Meanwhile, Khel Now’s Kolkata correspondent Uttiyo Sarkar thought that it was the best performance of the team under the new Croatian manager.
For me, this is our best performance under Igor Stimac. Feels like a win! What a brilliant collective effort from the lads. That defensive shape was unbreakable even against the biggest hazards. Fantastically set-up and tactics worked perfect. Great work boys! #QATIND https://t.co/RAgietoOrF
— Uttiyo Sarkar (@uttiyo_sarkar) September 10, 2019
A fan acknowledged the work-ethic of the entire team through a funny comment.
— Kevin Barboza (@boza_kevin) September 10, 2019
And another pointed out the effort of the defence after Qatar failed to score despite many clear chances.
— Tushaar sachdeva (@tushaarsachdeva) September 10, 2019
— Abhishek Nigam (@CuleAbhishek) September 10, 2019
An Indian football fan wondered if it was the best result for India in any World Cup Qualifier, in terms of the difference between the rankings of the two teams.
I can’t think of a single instance, at least not since FIFA rankings first came into play.
— Chiranjit Ojha (@ChiranjitOjha) September 10, 2019
He was however educated by one of the Twitterati about India’s 1-0 win against the UAE.
Correct. UAE were 64th, we were 124th. That was probably the biggest victory for @IndianFootball in terms of FIFA ranking difference, in the modern era at @FIFAWorldCup qualifiers. #indianfootball #BackTheBlue https://t.co/wxTZ8yKyWk
— Chiranjit Ojha (@ChiranjitOjha) September 10, 2019
Another fan asked for more such performances from the national team and also congratulated Gurpreet for his classy showing.
Talk about standing your ground and fighting ???? Away to the home of the Asian champions, and refused to be beaten or bullied. India, can we have more of this, please? Also, paaji was operating on another plane @GurpreetGK #QATIND
— Kunaal Majgaonkar (@kunmajgaonkar) September 10, 2019
Manvir Singh was an unsung hero, as the forward worked tirelessly and dropped deep into the defensive half to bail the team out of tricky situations. He also held the ball well against physically mightier opponents. A fan, however, did point out his performance and wished to see him play regular football this season.
Manvir Singh has got to be playing regular football for his club this coming season. How, I don’t know and frankly don’t care. He has just got to play.
— Aaditya Narayan (@Aaditya_LFC) September 10, 2019
Xavi was in the stadium to support the Qataris and the former Barcelona midfielder couldn’t escape the trolls for his prediction of the Indian team finishing last in their group in the AFC Asian Cup.
— Adhil 505 (@A1D2H3I4L5) September 10, 2019
It wasn’t all celebrations as some fans demanded more from the team, both defensively and offensively.
— Ashwin Micheal Carvalho (@A_s_h_C_a_r) September 10, 2019
Another fan, however, acknowledged the importance of defending well when reduced in quality upfront.
Quite a performance from India, especially without Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan. On a day when many doubted India’s attacking presence, the defence put up a disciplined performance to control the game and pull off a result. Kudos to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu! #QATIND #WCQ2022
— Manasi Pathak (@ThatUnitedLady) September 10, 2019
India’s oldest football club Mohun Bagan also congratulated the team for their first point in the World Cup Qualifiers.
What a massive result for India! We get our first point in the qualifiers with a goalless draw against Asian champion Qatar.
Cheers for the Men In Blue#QATIND ⚔ #WCQ ???????? #BackTheBlue ???? #BlueTigers ???? #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/dtOh6uekNM
— Mohun Bagan (@Mohun_Bagan) September 10, 2019
One from the team itself. A video of the Viking Claps from the Blue Tigers in Qatar!
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 10, 2019
Although, in very small numbers, India did get the warmth of the KBFC Manjapadda fans in the stadium, as they made it a point to support the team in Qatar.
History History History!!! This will go into the record books of Indian Football!!! India have managed to hold on the Asian Champions Qatar in their Den ????????????…. This draw is sweet as a victory #BackTheBlues #QATIND pic.twitter.com/JiDpiMRti0
— Manjappada KBFC Fans (@kbfc_manjappada) September 10, 2019
An Indian, working in Qatar shared his moment with a tweet where he won a bet against his Qatari friend.
A Qatari told his Indian colleague that he’d buy him a cake if Qatar couldn’t beat India.
So this happened today ????????
— Ahmed Hashim (@AhmedH_93) September 11, 2019
Achyuta Samanta, the member of Parliament congratulated the Indian National football team.
— Achyuta Samanta (@achyuta_samanta) September 11, 2019
Rutvij Joshi, the Khel Now correspondent from Ahmedabad feels this game was by far the best performance in last decade.
It’s been more than 20 hours since the FT but still can’t get over the effort of the @IndianFootball team put last time. This is the best performance the team has put in any official game in the past decade and this guy @GurpreetGK had a game to remember. #QATINDpic.twitter.com/Y8Lrh0Gyp3
— Rutvij Joshi (@RutvijJoshi3) September 11, 2019
An Indian football fan who couldn’t hide his excitement tweeted
Why does this feel like we’ve won the World Cup ???? #QATIND
— The Footy Traveller (@footytraveller_) September 10, 2019
Krunal Pandya, the Indian International cricketer was pleased by the result lastnight tweeted
— Krunal Pandya (@krunalpandya24) September 10, 2019
A strange observation by one Indian football fan
— Pratheesh G Nair (@PratheeshGN) September 11, 2019
A #MUFC hopeful taunted Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as replacement of David De Gea
Sandhu as David da Gea replacement #QATIND
— Manit (@123manit) September 11, 2019
Sajjan Jindal, the CEO of JSW group which owns Indian Super League side Bengaluru also praised Indian custodian
What a night @IndianFootball delivered yesterday! @GurpreetGK proved why he has the safest hands in the country or even Asia and @chetrisunil11 showed us that a great captain can influence even from the sidelines. Indian Football got very exciting!
— Sajjan Jindal (@sajjanjindal) September 11, 2019
Some praise for Adil Khan as well
Finally, let’s talk about one more player from India. Adil Khan.
He’s 31 and before 2019, he had only gathered a few meaningful national team minutes in 2012.
Now he has the appearance of a warrior, and he plays like one too. So many aerial duels won. Fighter’s performance. pic.twitter.com/hD8kbFHMk8
— Tomas Danicek (@TomDanicek) September 10, 2019