Doha (Qatar), Sept 11 (ANI): After a goalless draw against India in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Tuesday, Qatar's coach Felix Sanchez lauded Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as he maintained the clean sheet in the game.
"We played a tough game as we expected. We created many chances and went into goal scoring positions on many occasions but today it was not our day. Kudos to the Indian national team and the goalkeeper who did not allow us to get the three points," Goal.com quoted Sanchez as saying.
"But this is a long journey and we will keep trying to win games if we are to qualify for the next round," he added.
The result can be seen as a remarkable effort as Qatar is placed at the 62nd position in the FIFA rankings whereas India is on the 103rd spot. Gurpreet also wore the captain's armband in the match as regular skipper Sunil Chhetri was ruled out due to viral infection.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper proved to be a wall for the team as he made several saves, not allowing Qatar to register a goal.
"We are not happy about the result. We had more than 25 chances but we were still not able to score. We need to keep trying. This was not our best day but this result will definitely help us grow. We are going to try harder and get more points to qualify for the next round," Sanchez said.
Qatar are the AFC Asian Champions and they also played as the guest nation in Copa America. In 2019, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and India are the only countries which denied Qatar to score a goal in a match.
"Akram (Afif) is a very important player and I think Hassan (Al Haydos) played well today in his position. With him (Akram Afif), we score a lot and I am sure he is going to help us in the next matches," Sanchez said.
"He was not ready for the game and these are some decisions that you have to take. I think this group (of players) is very strong and we are capable of playing well with any player unavailable. We were positive today but this is football and sometimes these things happen," he added.
Qatar is leading the group with four points from two matches while India is placed at the fourth spot with one point. They will play against Bangladesh on October 10 while the Blue Tigers will also face the same opponent on October 15. (ANI)