An outstanding performance from goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu helped India hold China to a goalless draw in an international football friendly at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in China. The Indian football team, led by defender Sandesh Jhingan, didn't create too many chances, instead relying heavily on counterattacks. The Chinese enjoyed the lions share of the possession throughout the game and had numerous chances to score. This was the first time that India met China on their turf and their hopes of registering a famous win remained unfulfilled. They not only failed to find any footing in the game but also failed to capitalise on the few chances that they had early in the first half and late in the second half. China were in attack mode right from the outset as India defended in numbers, under attack for much of the game.
While Gurpreet Singh remained busy throughout, India's star striker Sunil Chhetri and Pritam Kotal went close to giving India a crucial 1-0 lead in the first half. Pritam Kotal, who made a fine run on the right flank, received the ball from Jeje Lalpekhlua and shot it towards the Chinese goal. But the Chinese goalkeeper stretched just enough to get his fingertips thus denying India an opening goal.
Just a few minutes later, India got a free-kick. Anirudh Thapa curled the ball past the Chinese wall to find Chhetri, who failed to make a proper connection as the ball flew over the Chinese post.
Meanwhile, China continued their onslaught, making a mockery of the Indian defence but failed to find the back of the Indian goal every single time. At the 30-minute mark, a momentary lapse by Subhashish Bose, inside the penalty box, saw the Chinese take control of the ball and shoot at the Indian goal. However, Gurpreet stretched his leg out and cleared the ball away from danger.
The second half of the game was a photocopy of the first half as China kept the pressure on the Indian side with a wave of attacks inside the first 10 minutes of the second half.
China's frustration grew as they just couldn't find the back of the net despite coming excruciatingly close on numerous occasions.
Wu Lei of China could have been the star of the match but hit the crossbar on two occasions.
The Indian goalie made a brilliant goal-line save in the 77th minute as China never stopped attacking and the kept the Indian defence on their toes.
In the 92nd minute of the game, Farukh Haji, who replaced Jeje in the middle, made a brilliant run down the pitch but was denied by the Chinese keeper.
Gurpreet's night was made busier as China made one last attempt to score a goal in the dying minutes of the game but were denied by the dogged Indian defence.