Asian champion Qatar ended India’s 15-game unbeaten run at dwelling with a 3-0 win within the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers on the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, and stayed high of Group A with six factors from two matches.
Moustafa Tarek Mashal, Almoez Ali and Yusuf Abdurisag scored for Qatar in India’s first loss within the second spherical of qualifiers.
The customer, beginning on the offensive proper from kick-off, had its first probability within the second minute when Amrinder’s miscued kick discovered Almoez on his left. The ahead jinked into the Indian penalty field and crossed it for Akram Afif on his left, however the No.11’s shot went broad, to the reduction of the house followers.
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Qatar had already sensed blood. Within the following two minutes, it was 1-0 up.
A nook kick from Afif, initially cleared, was lobbed in ultimately, with Tameem Mansour Al-Abdullah profitable the ball within the penalty field. A confused Indian defence was caught napping, as Moustafa barged in and rattled the web with a grounded effort.
It was a battle of the No. 23s – India’s No. 23 Amrinder Singh had changed in-form goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – who had risen to a hero’s standing in opposition to Qatar, 4 years in the past – within the beginning eleven.
For Qatar, it was Moustafa, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder who scored the defining objective within the first half. At the half-hour mark, he got here near doubling the lead, however this time, Amrinder reigned supreme, pushing his header away.
India confirmed a glimmer of hope for a comeback within the thirty fifth minute when Anirudh Thapa and Sunil Chhetri mixed alongside the suitable. The former carried the ball into the ultimate third, and the latter’s back-heel, adopted by Thapa’s go, arrange Lalengmawia in entrance of the penalty field. However, he skied the ball.
Seven minutes later, India acquired a gap once more. Chhetri’s run pressured an error by the Qatari back-line, and Thapa latched on to it.
A aspect ranked 41 spots above India had let slip not one however two possibilities to get sq.. Thapa acquired to it, with Igor Stimac’s and Carlos Queiroz’s eyes caught to that second with equal trepidation. But the midfielder’s shot went simply broad, and for the primary time – each Indian and Qatari followers within the stadium heaved “oooh!” collectively, with fully totally different feelings.
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After restart, Qatar instantly overwhelmed the Indian half in numbers, and inside a few minutes, it doubled the distinction. Just when Amrinder thought he had stopped Afif’s shot from shut proximity together with his fingertips, Almoez kicked it off his glove into the empty internet.
Stimac tried to shuffle the pack, bringing Ishan Pandita and Rahul KP for Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte. However, the forwards didn’t have any optimistic affect in entrance of objective.
In the 86th minute, the Maroons ended the competition when substitute Yusuf headed a cross from the left previous Amrinder.
The loss retains India second within the desk, with three factors from two video games thus far, however extra importantly, it permits Stimac and his boys to gauge their weaknesses properly earlier than they journey to Qatar for the AFC Asian Cup subsequent yr.