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Henry Menezes: Qatar draw is more than a victory for Indian football

08:03 EAT 11/09/2019
Henry Menezes
The Deputy Chairman of AIFF's technical committee also hailed Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's magical performance against Qatar...

An ecstatic Henry Menezes could not contain his joy after India eked out a historic result against Qatar, away from home in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. 

"These are the days that we live for. It is a massive massive result.  It is so heartening to see India fight like this. It is more than a victory for Indian football," the former India international told Goal.

"The way we defended was marvellous. Gurpreet was like Spiderman. For me, it was a defensive masterclass. There were no erratic clearances. They remained calm, composed and did their job resolutely. We did not allow them to build from the middle. They had to go wide. We cut out space behind the defence and in all, it was a pleasure to watch," he assessed.

Menezes lauded coach Igor Stimac's tactics and also praised India's mental toughness which helped them hold the Asian Champions to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes. 

"We were trying to play passes and get into the opponent's half. That was delightful. The effort that is being put to play this kind of football is something amazing. This is one of the biggest steps in the history of Indian football. Where is all that talk of no fitness? All the critics have been put to rest.

"India were also mentally strong throughout the game. After the heartbreak against Oman, the boys showed great character. We could have won that match. (Igor) Stimac said let's believe in ourselves and that's what we did today," said the deputy chairman of the technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF). 

India still have six matches to play in the qualifiers and Menezes hopes that this result will give the required confidence going ahead. 

"This result will be a huge confidence booster for the team going ahead. We have matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan and we will go into these matches only to win. It gives us the hope that we can move forward. India matched Qatar today (Tuesday)," signed off Menezes.