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Fans star as insipid 'Indiaaaaa' revert to normal

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The hills have legs: A portrait of Manipur's thriving football community

What does the abrupt end of a road being built, poppy fields and the Golden Triangle have to do with Indian football? This is not a Mastermind quiz with Folklore from a Hoary Past as its specialist subject. This is contemporary reality in Indian football, belonging to one corner of the vast geography that is touched by it. Among the 500 or so footballers who will turn up for the senior ranks in the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League over the next few months, 57 come from Manipur, the place of...

India salvage a point, while Bangladesh make one

Have you ever heard the sound of sixty thousand hearts breaking simultaneously? It sounds like, well... nothing. Just a vast, sudden, emptiness where there once was a wall of noise.

It's eerie.

On Monday, Jamal Bhuyan, captain of the Bangladesh national football team, all swagger and smirking confidence, had promised he'd break Indian hearts. On Tuesday, he did just that. It was his wicked delivery that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu flapped at, that Saad Uddin turned in to give Bangladesh the surprise lead...

Fans star as insipid 'Indiaaaaa' revert to normal

On Tuesday, in a crucial World Cup qualifier, India salvaged a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh with a last-gasp goal from a corner. From the high of Doha, Indian football seems to have returned to its normal resting state: oh-no-not-this-again.

Forty-five minutes of insipid football from the Indians was followed by a forty-five of chaotic endeavour. They over-complicated set pieces. They over-simplified open play. They did not defend well. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu went from hero who stopped Qatar to the...