Sunil Chhetri’s absence adds challenge for India against Qatar in vital WC qualifier | Football News

India’s national football team is facing a crucial World Cup qualifier against Qatar without their star striker Sunil Chhetri, leaving head coach Igor Stimac with the daunting task of finding a suitable replacement. The team, which has not scored a goal from open play in six matches, is facing a must-win situation where the outcome is uncertain.

One option for Stimac is to deploy a back three formation due to the unavailability of right-back Nikhil Poojary, who is not fully fit. This could see either Manvir Singh or Vikram Partap Singh stepping in as a wingback, with Rahim Ali potentially starting as the striker.

Poojary’s absence due to an ankle injury has forced the team to make adjustments, with Jay Gupta expected to take on the role of left wingback. The midfield may also see changes, with Jeakson Singh and Brandon Fernandes likely to feature alongside Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad.

Sunil Chhetri, who recently announced his retirement after a distinguished career, was not present during India’s previous draw against Qatar. Despite his absence, the team managed to secure a valuable point in Doha back in 2019. Named captain in Chhetri’s absence, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will play a crucial role in goal, just as he did in the previous encounter against Qatar.

With a draw possibly enough to see India through to the next round, Stimac and his team are aware of the challenges posed by the young and talented Qatar squad. The coach expressed his excitement about facing the emerging talent and emphasized the importance of securing a win to enhance India’s qualification prospects.

As the match approaches, all eyes will be on the Indian team as they strive to overcome their goal-scoring struggles and secure a vital victory against a strong opponent. The outcome of the qualifier remains uncertain, but India’s determination and perseverance will undoubtedly be on full display on the field.

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