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Fans drove us, says Sandhu

Doha: Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has applauded the Indian diaspora in Doha for playing their part in India holding Asian champions Qatar to a scoreless draw in their Asian Qualifiers Group E tie on Tuesday.

India went into the tie braced for a tough night against the in-form Qatar, who had defeated Afghanistan 6-0 in their opening tie, but walked away with a share of the points.

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It was the first point of India's FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying campaign and their steely performance, said Sandhu, was partly due to the support from the Indian fans in the stands at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

“It was like playing at home away from home. The support was incredible. They spurred us on, cheering us throughout," said Sandhu, skipper for the night in the absence of the talismanic Sunil Chhetri.

The custodian said the draw was one of the biggest results of his career.

“I feel extremely proud of the team for our performance against Qatar. Team effort helped us achieve the result. It will help us immensely in the rest of the Qualifiers.

“Everyone played their hearts out, and gave everything out on the pitch. That enabled us to come back to the dressing room satisfied, and with a very crucial point," added Sandhu, who made a string of crucial saves.

MD2 - Group E: Qatar vs India

It was a crucial point indeed, especially after India fell to a 2-1 defeat to Oman on Matchday One, with the West Asians coming from behind to seal the three points late on.

That result is now forgotten and India will set their focus on South Asian neighbours Bangladesh, who they will host on October 15.

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