FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Gritty Bangladesh hold India for a draw
Kolkata: The Indian national football team played out a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in their third match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Joint Qualifiers, here at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium, on Tuesday
Saad Uddin drew the first blood for Bangladesh in the first half, but Indian centreback Adil Khan equalised late in the game to restore parity for the home side.
The Blue Tigers went out hunting the three points from the word go, as Sunil Chhetri had an early shot on goal saved by Bangladesh goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana.
Ten minutes into the game, India had their a bugy chance as Mandar Rao Dessai floated a ball towards the far post, where an airborne Rahul Bheke headed it back, but there was nobody present to capitalise on the chance, as the Bangladesh defence thwarted the threat.
Bheke had yet another chance a few minutes later, when he won a free header from a corner. However, his header went absconding the target over the bar. With around 10 minutes of regulation time to go in the first half, Manvir Singh hit the target, as he cheekily back-headed, but a fully-stretched Bangladeshi custodian Ashraful managed to tip it over the bar.
As we moved closer to the half-time break, Saad Uddin managed to get on to the end of a set-piece from the left flank, past an outstretched Gurpreet, to put Bangladesh in the lead.
India came out with more determination in the second half, but Bangladesh kept trying their luck on the break, as Ziban broke free, but Gurpreet rushed out of his line to make a last-ditch save.
As we inched closer to the hour mark, Anas Edathodika rose above his marker to power his header off an Anirudh Thapa corner, but Mohammad Ibrahim leapt high to head it off the line.
Soon after, Sunil Chhetri played Udanta through on the right, as the winger out-paced his marker and crossed it into the box, but there was nobody present to connect with the ball that flew across the face of the goal.
India head coach Igor Stimac pulled out his cards in the second half, bringing on playmaker Brandon Fernandes in place of Mandar Rao Dessai, while winger Lallianzuala Chhangte came on for centreback Anas Edathodika.
With less than two minutes of regulation time left, it was Adil Khan, who came up with the equaliser, as he glanced his header past the near post, and into the back of the net.
India gave it an almighty effort in the closing stages of the match. Four minutes into injury time, Sunil Chhetri brought down an aerial ball for an unmarked Manvir Singh, who volleyed it wide.
Both the teams ended the day with a point apiece, as India remain on the fourth spot in Group E of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Joint Qualifiers.