India into next qualifying round despite draw

Doha: India scored from an own goal by the Afghanistan goalkeeper as it ended its World Cup Qualifiers campaign with a 1-1 draw here on Tuesday to book a berth in the third qualifying round of the Asian Cup.
A howler by Afghanistan’s Ovays Azizi handed India a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute, but Hossein Zamani equalised in the 81st in a match marred by poor refereeing. Afghanistan looked better early in the second session, but India took the lead in the 75th minute.
Ashique Kuruniyan sent a high cross from the left, which Suresh Singh Wangjam tried to reach for. Afghan goalkeeper Azizi rose for what should have been an easy collection, but the ball dropped down his hands and slipped in between his legs into the empty goal.
But, the joy of the Indians was short-lived as Zamani curled past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu after the Afghan striker got the better of two India defenders. India finished third in Group E with seven points from eight matches.

NT Bureau