Afghanistan 1-1 India, 3 reasons why India failed to beat Afghanistan | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
The finishers went missing, the midfielders tried to take shots from long range, the full-backs failed to block crosses, it was a disappointing day for almost every player that started the match. Pritam Kotal came back into the side and was one of the few players who impressed on the night as his runs forward troubled the Afghanistan defense.
Zelfagar Nazary opened the scoring on the night with a sweet strike on the cusp of half time. The Indian players fared better in the second half, created more chances and it finally paid off with Seiminlen Doungel heading the ball into the back of the net salvaging a point for the Blue Tigers.
Here are three reasons why India failed to beat Afghanistan.
#1 Mandar Rao Dessai was a clear weak link in defense
The FC Goa skipper has been playing as a make-shift left-back for the Indian Super League club for more than a couple of seasons now. The 27-year old has impressed enough to warrant a left-back slot ahead of Subhashish Bose and Nishu Kumar.
But the Afghanistan management identified the left side of the Indian defense as the clear weak link and exposed it dutifully. In the 8th minute, Mandar Rao Dessai conceded a corner after being pushed on to his weaker right foot. He went on to concede a couple of more corners and a completely unnecessary free-kick.
Ultimately, in the 45th minute, the Afghan attackers got the better of Dessai and crossed the ball into the box to an unmarked Zelfagar Nazary who scored the opening goal of the evening. After his error that led to the goal, Dessai was hooked off at half time and replaced by Faroukh Choudhary.
Ashique Kuruniyan, originally a winger, played as the left-back in the second half and fared better than Dessai as he made some crucial interceptions and also provided a better outlet from the left wing.
#2 Sunil Chhetri failing to deliver as the sole striker
The over-dependence on Captain Fantastic is finally showing as the evergreen No.11 is showing signs of ageing.
In the first half, the 35-year-old was isolated up front with very less service either from the wingers Udanta and Ashique or the midfielders Sahal Abdul Samad or Brandon Fernandes.
After the introduction of Faroukh Chaudhary and especially Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri dropped into empty spaces more and helped his side create chances which was better for the team as a whole as the no. of chances created increased significantly.
With a tall No.9 like Manvir playing alongside, Chhetri gets a strike partner who can get on the end of the crosses and lay off the ball to him making the best use of his predatory instincts.
#3 Afghanistan players stuck to the plan
Afghanistan football team manager Anoush Dastgir had a clear plan in mind as his side repeatedly targeted the left side even though it wasn't paying off. The home side won a number of free-kicks and corners which they should have used better given their height advantage over the Indian players.
In the second half, every Afghan player was sticking to his position thus providing no space to the Indian attackers. Noraollah Amiri was introduced on the hour mark and the No.10 produced an electric display and produced key chances for his side to double the lead.
With accurate substitutions and game-plan, Afghanistan managed to earn a point against a significantly higher-ranked side.Published 14 Nov 2019, 23:40 IST