India recorded their third draw in four matches in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as they were held 1-1 by Afghanistan at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday.
Igor Stimac’s India had began their campaign with a 2-1 defeat in Oman, but commendably held AFC Asian Cup 2019 winners and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar to a goalless draw in their second outing.
However, they have now failed to take full points against Bangladesh, who held them to a 1-1 draw in Kolkata last month, and now Afghanistan who looked on course for a win until Seiminlen Doungel struck the equaliser in the second-half injury time.
Zelfy Nazary, who plies his trade in Australia with Western Pride FC, gave the Afghans a 1-0 lead in the first-half injury time, but substitute Doungel grabbed an equaliser for the Blue Tigers at the neutral venue in the third minute of second-half injury time.
India remain fourth in Group E with three points only above Bangladesh and below group toppers Qatar, who have 10 points, Oman and Afghanistan.
AFGHANISTAN: Ovays Azizi, Hassan Amin, Haroon Amiri, David Najem (Milad Intezar 88′), Sharif Mukhammad, Farshad Noor, Faysal Shayesteh (Norlla Amiri 62′), Omid Popalzay (Adam Najem 12′), Noor Husin, Zelfy Nazary, Omran Haydary
INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal (Seiminlen Doungel 76′), Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Pronay Halder, Mandar Rao Desai (Farukh Choudhary 46′), Brandon Fernandes, Sahal Abdul Samad (Manvir Singh 58′), Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan
(Photo credit: Afghanistan Football Federation)