KOLKATA: Every player on the pitch put in a lion-hearted performance as India held Qatar goalless in a World Cup qualifier in Doha on Tuesday night. But one man stood out - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was simply exceptional.
The lanky custodian showed once again why he is such a key member of the national team.
And who better than former India goalie Subrata Paul to analyse Sandhu's performance.
Paul, who plays for Jamshedpur FC , feels Sandhu has improved a lot over the years. "Yesterday's display was surely one of his best performances. However, I strongly believe that the best is yet to come. We will see even better goalkeeping from him in the future," said Paul, who was dubbed 'Spiderman' after India's encounter against South Korea in the 2011 Asian Cup.
"He has improved in every department. He has to keep working hard which will take him to an even higher level."
Paul is of the opinion that Gurpreet's massive presence under the bar gives him a big advantage. "He is very big… huge. He is a monster. When he stands under the bar, he looks very big physically. That is very important," said Paul. "He is a genuinely good shot stopper, like what we see from European goalkeepers."
Like every Indian, Paul is proud of the team's performance against Qatar.
"Qatar are the current Asian champions. To hold them goalless at their home ground is a really big deal. To do it without Sunil (Chhetri) and Ashique (Kuruniyan) makes it even more special. Every player gave his best and the coach also deserves credit. This performance and the result represents a big step forward," Paul observed.
"Even in the last match, Oman might emerged as the winners but it was India who dominated proceedings for the better part of the game. This is proof that Indian football is progressing in the right direction. This team has a lot of potential and we can definitely dream about them."