Dushanbe: Seiminlen Doungel’s debut goal helped India hold Afghanistan to a 1-1 draw in their fourth Fifa World Cup qualifier at Dushanbe on Thursday.
Seiminlen scored through an injury-time header in the third minute if injury time to cancel out David Najem’s 45th minute strike. The draw meant Indian remain winless in Group E after four matches. Afghanistan continued to be on the third with four points.
It was their third successive draw that kept them fourth in the five team group and made their chances of qualification in the next round as well as AFC Asian Cup extremely difficult.
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 149-ranked Afghanistan played confidently in the first half on a chilly evening against Igor Stimac’s 106-ranked India.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 14, 2019
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, and the couple of half chances in the opening minutes failed to test the Afghan custodian.
There was a change straightaway for India after the break as Stimac substituted Mandar with Farukh Choudhary.
The visitors showed urgency and looked desperate for an equaliser. They had a chance in the 58th minute but skipper Sunil Chhetri’s header off a cross from right back Pritam Kotal was saved by Azizi.
Doungel came in place of Kotal paid dividends and his equaliser ensured India got a point from the fixture.