Football

World Cup Qualifiers | Adil’s late equaliser saves India’s blushes

Nodding home: When all seemed lost, Adil stepped in for India.

Nodding home: When all seemed lost, Adil stepped in for India.  

Saaduddin scores for Bangladesh, cashing in on Gurpreet’s misjudgement

Adil Khan found the equaliser two minutes from time to help India hold Bangladesh 1-1 in their Group E match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Tuesday. A near-capacity crowd failed to provide the impetus as an error-prone host dished out an uninspiring performance before managing to escape with a draw.

Bangladesh went ahead late in the first half when India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s error in judgement allowed Saaduddin hoist the lead for Bangladesh.

India, with two points from three matches, remained fourth in the five-team group while Bangladesh, which bagged its first point of the tournament, remained at the bottom.

Defensive trap

India was caught in the defensive trap thrown by Bangladesh right from the start. Playing its second match at home, the team fumbled in the strike zone, squandering many scoring opportunities despite head coach Igor Stimac fielding his best attacking combination.

The hosts did well in the creative zone, building up attacks repeatedly, but the visitors neutralised them by parking extra men at the back.

Bangladesh coach Jamie Day seemed to have analysed the Indians well as he employed a patrol for the Indian attackers, especially captain Sunil Chhetri. The latter had the best chance in the fourth minute but failed to beat Bangladesh goalkeeper Ashraful Rana.

While Chhetri was tightly marked, Manvir Singh — his colleague in attack — failed to provide the finish. Even as India continued to fumble in the attacking zone, Bangladesh came up with effective counterattacks and scored off a set-piece in the 42nd minute. Gurpreet misjudged a free-kick from Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuyan and the ball went to Saaduddin who nodded home the opening goal.

India survived again in the 55th minute when Mohammad Ibrahim’s attempt Gurpreet again, but the crosspiece came to the hosts’ rescue.

In the second half, Stimac made two changes in attack, bringing in Brandon Fernandes for Mandar Rao Dessai and Raynier Fernandes for the off-colour Anirudh Thapa. In the 88th minute, Fernandes’ corner kick was headed home by Adil, bringing the crowd to his feet.

The result: India 1 (Adil Khan 88) drew with Bangladesh 1 (Saaduddin 42).

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 8:49:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/world-cup-qualifiers-adils-late-equaliser-saves-indias-blushes/article29693858.ece

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