Controversial Refereeing Costs India in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Against Qatar (Video)

India’s Historic Chance Slips Away Due to Disputed Decisions

India’s hopes of advancing to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers were dashed by controversial refereeing as Qatar secured a 2-1 victory on Tuesday. The game, held at Stade Felix-Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, saw India lead through Lallianzuala Chhangte’s 37th-minute goal, but a contentious equalizer by Yousef Aymen and a late winner from Ahmed Al-Rawi turned the match in Qatar’s favor.

India took an early lead thanks to Chhangte, who skillfully scored after receiving a diagonal pass from Brandon Fernandes. The Indian team looked poised to make history, holding a 1-0 lead at halftime. However, the second half saw a dramatic turn of events.

In the 73rd minute, Yousef Aymen scored an equalizer for Qatar under questionable circumstances. The Indian team protested vigorously, claiming the ball had gone out of play before the goal, but the referee allowed it to stand. This decision shifted the game’s momentum, and Qatar capitalized on it.

Qatar’s Ahmed Al-Rawi sealed the victory with a goal in the 85th minute, leaving Indian fans and players disheartened. The defeat came after a promising first half where India managed to keep Qatar at bay with strong defense and crucial saves by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

India’s performance was especially commendable given the recent retirement of their star player, Sunil Chhetri. The team showed resilience and skill, particularly Chhangte, who not only scored but also created several opportunities throughout the match.

Despite the loss, Indian supporters in the stadium cheered passionately, reflecting their pride in the team’s spirited display. The controversy surrounding Aymen’s equalizer and Al-Rawi’s winner will linger as a sore point, but India’s performance offered glimpses of potential and promise for the future.

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As Qatar and Kuwait progress to the second round, India’s journey in the qualifiers ends with a mix of heartbreak and hope. The team now looks ahead to future tournaments, drawing lessons from this challenging yet inspiring campaign.

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