Gurpreet Singh Sandhu set to make his debut in the Europa League
Gurpreet Singh is set to make India proud again as he is ready to take the field to make his bow in the Europa League, making him the first Indian to appear in a premier European club competition. The former East Bengal custodian is set to start for the Norwegians, barring any surprise in goal for his Norwegian side Stabaek in the first round of qualifying.
As the clock strikes midnight, the small Welsh Town of Connah’s Quay will form an everlasting bond with Indian football history. The tiny Welsh town, unknown to most tourists, leave alone the general people is also the home Connah’s Quay Nomads, a footballing side which qualified for the Europa League last season are all set to host Norwegian side Stabaek tonight.
Sandhu, made headlines a month back when he became the first Indian to appear in a top flight European League game. He then returned back home to feature in India’s thumping victory over Laos last month.
Gurpreet, who has established himself as India’s number one choice in recent times under Stephen Constantine, had moved to the Norway in 2014. However, he failed to get much playing time in his debut season in Europe. However, in January last year, he got his first break in a club friendly against Follo.
His perseverance, though, paid off magnificently, as he finally as he started making cup appearances earlier this season. And following Stabaek dismal run of results earlier this season, he was handed his league debut. In his first start, he kept a clean sheet as Stabaek won against bottom of the table Start.
Stabaek who finished third in the Norwegian Tippiligaen last season are struggling this season and see themselves in the relegation zone at the moment. However, they will look to kick on after a promising result against Start and now a chance at furthering their European adventures.
Sandhu, who is expected to make a start for the Norwegian has 12 international caps for India, having displaced Subrata Paul as the country’s number one. The lanky 6’6” star has represented India at the U-16, U-19 and U-23 levels and helped East Bengal to a memorable semi-final appearance in the AFC Cup in 2013.
The Manchester United fan has given Indian football fans another reason to smile after the sport being again in turmoil in recent time over the exodus of two Goan clubs from the national league