India escaped with a 1-1 draw after an injury-time goal saved them the blushes against lower-ranked Afghanistan in their FifaWorld Cup Qualifier match here on Thursday.
The result meant the 106-ranked India remained winless in their qualifying campaign so far.
When the visitors seemed headed for their second defeat, substitute Seiminlen Doungel (90+3) provided India with a lifeline, outjumping his markers to head one into the far post.
Afghanistan had taken the lead through Zelfagar Nazary’s strike (45+1), putting India on the backfoot.
India remained at the fourth position in Group E with three points from four matches, while Afghanistan continued to be on the third with four points.
Twitter wasn’t a very happy place despite the late equaliser from India as many rued India’s failure to take maximum points from the game.
Despite the disappointing result against a lower-ranked team, there were a few performances that deserved some praise. Doungel who was selected in the Indian squad after an impressive showing in the Indian Super League, scored his first international goal.
His goal was set-up by FC Goa teammate Brandon Fernandes who also assisted India’s late equaliser against Bangladesh.
However, there was also some criticism directed at coach Igor Stimac after India failed to win another game under his tutelage.