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FIFA World Cup qualifiers | Qatar finds the net thrice as India fails to put adequate challenge

Powerhouse: Qatar stays on top of Group A after a dominating show against India.

Powerhouse: Qatar stays on top of Group A after a dominating show against India.

Qatar brought up a nice essay of attacking football to suppress India’s aspirations by a 3-0 scoreline in Group A’s second-round match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and Asian Cup 27 qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday.

The Blue Tigers failed to invoke the required challenge that could unsettle the might and reputation of the reigning Asian champion.

Making five changes to the squad that started against Kuwait, India did not find much space as the visitor went into attack mode right from the start.

Manvir Singh, the goal scorer in the opening match, was absent with a sprained muscle as Indian head coach Igor Stimac selected five players from the bench – Subhasish Bose, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Udanta Singh and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh — to try out a new combination at home. 

India conceded in the fourth minute as an unprepared defence failed to clear on time, allowing Qatar forward Mustafa Meshaal to find the net with a grounder from inside the box. 

The visitor found a couple more chances in the first quarter of the action but centreback Sandesh Jhingan and Amrinder were alert in the box to block the marauding Qataris from adding another one to the tally.

India tried to tidy its game late in the opening half, launching attacks through the flanks. The first good chance for the host came in the 40th minute when Chhangte set a sharp cross on the Qatar goalmouth but the latter’s defence cleared before Udanta could make a try. Two minutes later, Thapa shot wide of an open goal to extend India’s frustration.

The change of ends did not help India as it conceded the second immediately in the 46th minute off an Almoez Ali effort. The Indian attackers tried a few more offensive forays in the Qatar box but all their efforts remained abortive. Substitute Yusuf Abdurisag made it 3-0 in the 86th minute to complete a well-earned victory for the visitor.

The result: India 0 lost to Qatar 3 (Mustafa Meshaal 4, Almoez Ali 46, Yusuf Abdurisag 86).

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