Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has said that he expected the Blue Tigers to beat Qatar during last month’s World Cup qualifier in Doha. The Blue Tigers were underdogs against the Asian champions heading into that game but they gave a good account of themselves with Sandhu coming up with a number of key saves.
As a result, the Blue Tigers managed to secure a hard-fought draw against Qatar away from home but Sandhu believes the country should have come up with a victory instead, he told: “I had expected to win against Qatar. I don’t think it was a dream performance… I did my job. It’s just that it came against a big opponent. To be honest, I have played more difficult games. But it is good to remember the Qatar match. It helped the players gain confidence. Quite a few young boys played after a long time and showed their worth against a big team. Now, you have to move on and try to replicate that.”
India have accumulated just two points from the opening two World Cup qualifier games and they are currently fourth in Group E with a five-point deficit to Oman, who are holding onto the second qualification spot for the World Cup third round. As such, the Blue Tigers can’t afford any more setbacks in their ambitious attempt to make the top two and their next challenge comes against Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium.
India are genuine favourites for the encounter against a Bangladesh team, who are at the bottom of the standings but they can’t be complacent. Bangladesh has not beaten the Blue Tigers over the past two decades but they have proved tricky opponents with a number of stalemates. India have managed five victories and five draws from the past 10 encounters against Bangladesh.