Updated June 11th, 2024 at 23:52 IST

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: India lose 1-2 to Qatar to end hope of entering third round

In another final second round match, Kuwait beat Afghanistan 1-0. Qatar and Kuwait thus progressed to the second round.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu | Image:PTI
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Poor refereeing robbed India of a chance to secure a historic entry into the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as fancied Qatar rode on a controversial goal to emerge 2-1 winners here on Tuesday.

India were ahead thanks to Lallianzuala Chhangte's 37th minute strike but disaster struck when the referee adjudged Yousef Aymen's goal as fair after the ball appeared to have gone out of play.

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The hugely controversial decision disturbed India's momentum as Asian champions Qatar scored their second through Ahmed Al-Rawi in the 85th minute.

In another final second round match, Kuwait beat Afghanistan 1-0. Qatar and Kuwait thus progressed to the second round.

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Playing barely five days after the international retirement of arguably the country's greatest footballer Sunil Chhetri, not many gave the beleaguered 121-ranked side a chance, but Igor Stimac's wards turned the tables in style and looked on course after Chhangte's strike.

Chhangte, the 27-year-old winger from Mizoram's Lunglei, struck the ball accurately into the bottom corner after a diagonal pass from Brandon Fernandes.

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Having received the ball, he made no mistake in outsmarting his marker and broke the deadlock to silence the backers of the fancied hosts at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

It was redemption of sorts for Chhangte as he found the back of the net after failing to convert two chances created by Brandon.

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The strike also made Chhangte India's highest-scoring active player with 8 goals.

A good number of Indian supporters also made their way into the venue and at times outperformed the home crowd when it came to cheering after Chhangte's strike.

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Before Chhangte struck, Manvir Singh had a great chance to put India ahead but failed to finish the task.

This was after Qatar wasted a chance to draw first blood thanks to a brilliant save by Mehtab Singh, who got down to clear the ball from crossing the line.

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For the record, this is the first time Qatar have trailed in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers so far. 

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Published June 11th, 2024 at 23:52 IST