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Blue Tigers fail to pounce on opportunities

Blue Tigers fail to pounce on opportunities

India’s Manvir Singh missed a couple of golden chances. AIFF



PTI

Abha (Saudi Arabia), March 22

India played out a goalless draw against Afghanistan after both sides failed to turn their opportunities into goals in a Group A fixture of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers here.

It was an end-to-end contest in the first half on Thursday night with India coming close to scoring through Manvir Singh on two occasions and the hosts too had their share of chances.

With this result, India climbed to the second spot in Group A with four points from three matches, followed by Kuwait, who are on three points from as many games.

India have provisionally taken the second spot in the group, three points ahead of Kuwait, who lost to Qatar 0-3 earlier. Afghanistan, following a draw and two losses, are fourth in the group.

A feisty midfield battle ensued in the opening exchanges as lunging tackles were frequently on display at the Damac Stadium. While Afghanistan looked to use their pace and physical built to assert dominance, India were intent on playing a passing game.

Vikram Partap Singh, who had earned his senior national team debut in January, made the starting XI for the first time, and was a constant thorn in the flesh for the Afghans.

The forward kept drifting between the centre and the wing, often switching with Manvir, which caused much confusion for Afghanistan.

With India and Afghanistan resorting to attacking football, the first half saw a wave of attacking moves but the strikers were not able to come alive in the final third, leaving coaches Igor Stimac and Ashley Westwood a bit frustrated as they barked instructions from the touchline.

India were on the offensive from the go and caused some anxious moments in the Afghanistan’s defence. Manvir had more than one opportunity to score in the first half itself. A corner from Chhangte, a cross whipped in by full-back Nikhil Poojary were great chances for the India forward to score, but both went begging.

#Afghanistan #Saudi Arabia


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