FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: India and Afghanistan Play Out Goalless Draw – News18

Published By: Aakash Biswas
Last Updated: March 22, 2024, 10:11 IST
Abha, Saudi Arabia
India and Afghanistan settled for a 0-0 draw
India and Afghanistan settled for a 0-0 draw after failing to turn their opportunities into goals in a Group A fixture of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers here on Thursday.
It was end-to-end stuff in the first half with India coming very close to scoring through Manvir Singh on two occasions and the hosts too having their share of chances.
However, most of them were half-chances and the goalkeepers of both teams were not tested enough.
With India and Afghanistan resorting to open football, the first half (45+3) saw a wave of attacking moves but the strikers were not able to come alive in the final third, leaving both gaffers Igor Stimac and Ashley Westwood a bit frustrated as they shouted instructions from the touchline.
India were on the offensive from the word go and caused some anxious moments in the Afghanistan defence and had Manvir not spurned a great chance in the 17th minute, the visitors would have taken an early lead in their away leg of the second round of 2026 World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup preliminary joint qualification match.
Then there was a scope for Afghanistan to go ahead, but Mosawer Ahadi, who found room on the right side of the box, could not pack enough punch in his left-footed effort as Sandhu tackled it without much ado.
A chance went begging for India in the 58th minute after Akash Mishra on the left flank won the ball and crossed it to Vikram Pratap Singh whose finishing left a lot to be desired.
Moments later, it was Afghanistan’s turn to miss out on a golden opportunity as Rahul Bheke foiled Rahmat Akbari and Omid Popalzay’s plan with a timely interception.
One of the game’s best chances came India’s way but Subhasish Bose’s free header off a corner kick missed the target


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