Qatar’s sharpness blunt Blue Tigers’ challenge at Kalinga Stadium

Asian Cup champions Qatar proved too hot to handle for Igor Stimac’s boys as the Blue Tigers went down 0-3 in their second match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 Joint Qualification campaign, on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

Stimac made five changes to the starting line-up that defeated Kuwait in the first match but it couldn’t stop Qatar from snatching all the three points in their away match. Amrinder Singh, who replaced Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal, wasn’t at his best today.   

Qatar did not have to wait long to take the lead. Akram Afif was all over India and the Indian defence made a mess of his corner from the right. Moustafa Mashal found the net with a quick right footer.

In the 19th minute, Sandesh Jhingan’s timely block saved Amrinder the embarrassment of conceding a goal from his wrong pass. However, Amrinder was up to the task three minutes later as an exquisite back heel in the midfield by Mansour set Afif free for a solo run down the left. Amrinder blocked his shot right at the goalmouth.

Qatar’s dominance can be gauged from the fact that they obtained 10 corners in the first half and India got none. India had to weather one attack after another till the 40th minute but improved towards the end of that half. Anirudh Thapa got a real chance to score in the 42nd minute as Boualem Khoukhi lost the ball just outside the box to the constant pressure from Indian captain Sunil Chhetri. He put it on well for Thapa but his shot went wide of the post despite beating Qatar custodian Meshaal Barsham.

Buoyed by those closing minutes, India could have hoped to do better in the second half. But Afif put paid to those hopes as he combined with Mashal. His cross found Afif free inside India’s box on the left. Amrinder did try to block his tap but could not get the ball in full control. Almoez Ali, coming through the middle, put it past the goalline to make it 2-0.

It was all downhill for India from that point onwards. The only bright spot was a move in the 65th minute. Suresh Singh made a great turn in the midfield and found Sahal Abdul Samad free on the left. He did run into the Qatar box with only the goalkeeper to beat but he shot well wide of the second post.

Qatar made it 3-0 five minutes from time through substitute Yusuf Abdurisag’s header.

India: Amrinder Singh (GK); Subhasish Bose, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan (Lalchungnunga, 90+3’), Nikhil Poojary; Suresh Singh Wangjam, Udanta Singh (Mahesh Singh Naorem, 46’), Lallianzuala Chhangte (Ishan Pandita, 82’), Anirudh Thapa (Sahal Abdul Samad, 63’); Lalengmawia, Sunil Chhetri (C) (Rahul KP, 82’). 

Also Read: Indian Football is a gold mine waiting to be explored, says Arsene Wenger

Also Read: 2001 World Cup Qualifiers: When the dream run nearly shattered the reality

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian Football.

India Khelo Football Season 3 Trials for Mumbai and Thane are here

India Khelo Football (IKF) is back with Season 3 of its widely acclaimed trials with an aim to cover more than 50 cities this time around. After the resounding success…


Mastering the Art of Football Trials: Key Pre-Trial Factors to Keep in Mind

Football trials are a critical juncture for aspiring players to showcase their skills and secure a spot in a team. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your playing position as well as keeping in mind a few pre-trial factors.


Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…