FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Super sub Seiminlen Doungel saves India

Updated: Nov 15, 2019, 10:28 IST | PTI | Dushanbe

Seiminlen Doungel comes off bench to net injury-time equaliser v Afghanistan

India's Seiminlen Doungel (jersey No. 22) heads an equaliser against Afghanistan during their FIFA World Cup qualifier in Tajikistan yesterday
India's Seiminlen Doungel (jersey No. 22) heads an equaliser against Afghanistan during their FIFA World Cup qualifier in Tajikistan yesterday

Dushanbe (Tajikistan): India escaped with a 1-1 draw after an injury-time goal saved them the blushes against lower-ranked Afghanistan in their FIFA World Cup qualifier here on Thursday. The result meant the 106-ranked India remained winless in their qualifying campaign so far. When the visitors seemed headed for their second defeat, substitute Seiminlen Doungel (90+3) provided India with a lifeline, outjumping his markers to head one into the far post.

Afghanistan had taken the lead through Zelfagar Nazary's strike (45+1), putting India on the back foot. India remained at the fourth position in Group E with three points from four matches, while Afghanistan continued to be on the third with four points.

Difficult away conditions

Starting the away game, being played in extremely cold conditions at the Central Republican Stadium, on a bright note, India conceded a goal in the first half's injury time (45+1). Afghanistan went into lead after a fine move saw David Najem play a square ball to Zelfagar Nazary at the centre of the box, and the mid-fielder's attempt breached the Indian defence before finding the back of the net.

The hosts looked the better of the two sides in the first half and the goal, in the added time of first session, was not inappropriate. India looked to take on the opposition, but they could not create any clear chances. The visitors showed urgency and looked desperate for an equaliser.

Chhetri's header saved

They had a chance in the 58th minute, but skipper Sunil Chhetri's header was saved by Azizi. At the other end, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a diving save. While he will be disappointed to end the match in a stalemate, India coache Igor Stimac's decision to bring in Doungel in place of Kotal
paid dividends.

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