Over the last few years, Chandigarh’s Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has emerged as one of the best young goalkeepers. Year after year, he has been raking in titles and thus further enhancing his reputation as a reliable custodian. On Tuesday, Gurpreet once again came to light with his superb performance under the bar to help East Bengal, the football club for whom he is at present plying his services reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup.
Stopping the rampaging Semen Padang’s from scoring, Gurpreet helped the team eke out a 1-1 draw with the Indonesian club at Padang in the away leg. Having won the first leg 1-0, the result was enough to send East Bengal into semi-finals with a 2-1 aggregate as they became the second Indian club after Dempo SC to reach the last four stage of AFC Cup which is equivalent to UEFA Europa Cup.
Before this, East Bengal’s best performance was the quarterfinal appearance in 2004 under coach Subhas Bhowmick. However, what was remarkable was the way the Indian outfit performed against foreign teams and remained unbeaten in the tournament. Gurpreet was one of the factors for which East Bengal emerged as a team to watch out for during the tournament.
“It feels nice to help the team win matches. And it’s an icing on the cake if I can guide the team to titles. We played like a eekl knit unit and we were determined to do well. There is still more to achieve,” said the former trainee at St Stephen’s Football Academy.On the way to the semifinals, East Bengal defeated Selangor FA of Malaysia, Xuan Thanh Sai Gon of Vietnam, Tampines Rovers of Singapore and Myanmar’s Yangon United. At 21, when most of the players take baby steps as professionals, Gurpreet has taken giant steps to become East Bengal’s and Indian U-22 trusted keeper.
After a busy season, Gurpreet took the much-needed break and visited his relatives in Canada.
After the break, another busy season awaited him. The commencement of I League means Gurpreet will stay away from his family members for most part of the year. So, it was