10-Man India Go Down 1-0 Against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha
India was dealt a body blow when Rahul Bheke received his marching orders in 17th minute for a second yellow card.
Despite a gritty performance from the Indian men’s football team, they were handed a 1-0 defeat by Asian champions Qatar in Doha. India, who went a man down when Rahul Bheke was given his marching orders, is yet to win a game in the ongoing 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
Technically, playing their home game, it was a mixture of last ditch defending, curiously poor finishing from the Asian champions and another heroic performance in goal from from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, that helped keep the score line from becoming embarrassing for India. With the defeat, India’s hopes of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup next year are over.
Along expected lines, the contest saw Qatar attacking from the get-go but India courtesy Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal held out early on. However, India was dealt a body blow when Rahul Bheke received his marching orders in 17th minute, a hand ball producing the second yellow card.
The win took Qatar to 19 points, seven ahead of Oman who have two matches in hand and will face Felix Sanchez's side on Monday.
The 10-man team led by Sunil Chhetri though continued to work hard and was almost rewarded with a goal around the half-hour mark. Manvir Singh, unfortunately, a tad slow in getting on to a low cross from the left.
Manvir was the at the end of another good piece of play when Chhetri found him in space after bringing down a long ball from the keeper, but Qatar managed to smother the attack.
Qatar, dominant in the contest, had decided to shoot from distance more often than not despite the numerical advantage, before a swift move found Abdelaziz Hatem, who’s left footed snap shot went through a crowd and found the back of the net 12 minutes from half-time.
Chhetri, who came back after having recovered from COVID-19, sat out the second half as Qatar toyed with India but could not find a way past Gurpreet and co for a second time.
Qatar had their best chance of the second half with about four minutes of regulation time left on the clock, when substitute Abdullah Alahraq rifled a long-ranger onto the near post. However, the ball ricocheted and went out of play.
India, who had held Qatar to a 0-0 draw in 2019 in the WCQ, play Bangladesh and Afghanistan next.
A winless India remained in fourth spot in Group E with three points from six matches. Igor Stimac’s men are two points behind Afghanistan (third with five points). India play Bangladesh on June 7 in their next match.
With Croatian World Cupper Stimac at the helm, India have won once in 13 games.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.