‘India have shown that they are a very difficult team to beat’ – Qatar coach Felix Sanchez lauds India’s defending

The Spanish coach was happy to secure three points against a gritty Indian team…

10-man India went down 1-0 against Qatar in their sixth match of 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers Group E match on Thursday at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha. 

Abdel Aziz Hatem scored the only goal of the match in the 34th minute to secure three points for the hosts who remained at the top of the group.

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez Bas was all praise for a resolute Indian side that made it extremely difficult for the Maroons to score goals. 

What did the Qatar head coach say?

“We expected a very tough game. We faced a team who were waiting for very us with many players in defence with very good organisation so it was very difficult to create clear chances but we created a lot. We tried shooting from distance, crossing from the sides, making combinations. We could score one which was enough to get the three points, that was the main target. We are happy with the three points but at the same time, we expected to score some more goals considering the difference there was in the game,” opined Sanchez.

India had to defend with just 10-men for more than 73 minutes and still managed to limit Qatar to just one goal. 

He continued, “The red card in the first half made the difference and then I think the plan for us was to win the tie. We didn’t change anything. We were playing our game we expect. Of course, playing with 10 men for a long time is not easy at the same time they had many players involved in defending. It was difficult for us to reach their goal.”

Manvir Singh playing against Qatar

‘Gurpreet had a great game’

The former FC Barcelona youth coach lauded Indian custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s efforts in the goal and felt that his performances were a major reason why his team could not score more goals. 

Gurpreet had also starred for India back in November 2019, coming up with numerous saves as India held Qatar to a goalless draw.

“The team tried everything. We generated more than 25 shots against a team who were waiting inside their box. It is a difficult thing we tried but today it was not effective. Also, they were very organised and their goalkeeper once again had a great game. We have a lot of things to improve but we played a good game and we got the three points which is the most important thing. But a great effort by the opposition,” stated the Spaniard.

“India have shown that they are a very difficult team to beat. They concede very few goals in each game which is because of the team as a whole but the goalkeeper (Gurpreet Singh Sandhu) made a big difference. He was once again outstanding and he saved some goals which we created,” said the Qatar boss.

Who are India facing next?

India are set to take on Bangladesh next on Monday, June 7, and will finish their campaign with a match against Afghanistan on June 15. India’s target will now be to finish third in Group E and avoid a play-off to get into the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Here’s how India can finish third in the group

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