KOLKATA, October 15, 2019: India picked up a point in their third match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Joint Qualifiers, as they drew 1-1 against neighbours Bangladesh at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium, in Kolkata, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
Saad Uddin had put Bangladesh in front in the first half, but India centre-back Adil Khan equalised late in the game to draw the home side level.
The Blue Tigers went chasing the three points from the very start, as Sunil Chhetri had an early shot on goal saved by Bangladesh goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana.
Ten minutes into the game, India had their golden chance as Mandar Rao Dessai floated a ball towards the far post, where an airborne Rahul Bheke knocked it back, but there was nobody present to capitalise on the chance, as the Bangladesh defence cleared their lines.
Bheke had yet another chance a few minutes later, when he won a free header from a corner. However, his header flew 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 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 conviction 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 rolled the dice in the second half, bringing on playmaker Brandon Fernandes in place of Mandar Rao Dessai, while winger Lallianzuala Chhangte came on for centre-back 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.
India Starting XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika (Lallianzuala Chhangte), Mandar Rao Dessai (Brandon Fernandes); Anirudh Thapa (Raynier Fernandes), Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan; Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri (C).