The Indian football team are currently in third place with two points in Group E of the Qualifiers.
An inspiring draw by Bangladesh against India, when Adil Khan scored the equalizer for the Blue Tigers on Tuesday night, left many home fans disappointed. The result meant both teams remain win-less in their group in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 2.
The Bengal Tigers drew first blood when Saad Uddin sneaked in a header past Gurpreet Singh from a Jamal Bhuyan set-piece. Bhuyan, the Bangladeshi captain, was electric on the field, as he marshaled his troops with aplomb. However, the 29-year-old was not happy with the last-minute equalizer by Adil Khan.
“If they didn’t score from the corner we would have won. One of our players was sleeping. They tried so many crosses, but they failed. We felt like we lost today,” Bhuyan said.
“It was a lack of concentration. They might not have listened to the coach. The player who was near the first post was sleeping,” he added.
Bhuyan was very clear with what they wanted from the game and their expectations from the Indian side. The Bangladesh skipper wasn’t too affected by India having most of the ball, as he believed that the Blue Tigers have problems at the back and there will be chances to capitalize on.
“We didn’t care if India had the ball. They can play in the middle as much as they want. But, they could not score from open play. We knew that they had problems in the right-back position and one stopper. So, we just waited and attacked in counters using those deficiencies,” he added.
Bhuyan felt that not having Sandesh Jhingan in defence was a blessing for his team, as the defender is always a threat from set-pieces. But, he feels his team had the opportunity to seal the match.
“They missed a big player in Sandesh. He is a threat in set-pieces. It was good for us that he missed this game. India saved one on the line today. It would have been match over then. We waited and waited, as we knew that India’s defence would make mistakes.”
On the other hand, the Man of the Match from the game, Adil Khan scored his first goal in national colours and was happy with his performance, but disappointed with the overall result.
“We tried very hard, but unfortunately couldn’t get three points. Very happy that I scored my first international goal, but disappointed that we couldn’t get three points.”
Asked if not having his Sandesh Jhingan in defence was the main reason for the lapses in concentration, Adil said, “Not having Sandesh wasn’t a problem as Anas did an equally good job. First half, we made some mistakes, but later we recovered well. Of course, I am missing Sandesh because he is a leader, but Anas is also very good.”
The 31-year-old remains positive about India’s chances, but feels that the matches in November will be very crucial in deciding the fate of the Blue Tigers.
“We have to work very hard before the next two away games. We will be working with the clubs in the next month and then come back whenever they allow us. Hopefully, we will get the three points in those matches,” Adil Khan quipped.
He concluded by congratulating the fans for their terrific support in Kolkata and hoped that the national team get this much support everywhere.
“We got great support here in Kolkata and I hope we will continue to get support in all our home games. The fans are our 12th man.”
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Meanwhile, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was the star performer against Qatar in India’s majestic 0-0 draw in Doha, was disappointed with the result against Bangladesh.
“Of course, I am disappointed with the result. This is a game we could have won. But, this is something that happens in football. We have to keep our chins up and look forward to the next two games.”
The Blue Tigers conceded a sloppy goal in the 42nd minute, where Saad Uddin capitalized on a weak fist from Gurpreet, who looked unsure of his positioning. However, he felt the other way.
“Not really. I didn’t have much to do. There were occasions we could have done well. But, all these things happen in football. I have no complaints.
“After a result like this, we need to keep a positive mentality and make sure that we try again in the next two games,” he concluded.
India are currently second from bottom in their group with two points from three games. Bangladesh have now opened their account with this draw. The Blue Tigers face two away games in November against Afghanistan and Oman.