India have fallen to a 1-0 defeat against Qatar in their recent World Cup qualifying match at the Jassim Bin Stadium in the middle east nation. The Blue Tigers continue to remain in the fourth spot after the defeat only 1 point ahead of Bangladesh in the qualifying table.
A first half goal from Abdulaziz Hatem was enough for Qatar to secure all 3 points in a match where they completely dominated the Indian football team. Igor Stimac would largely thank goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for his inspired performance in goal, barring which the result could have tasted a lot bitter.
India still have 2 matches left in their World Cup qualifying campaign against Bangladesh and Afghanistan
Igor Stimac’s men suffered an early blow in the form of a red card for Rahul Bheke, who earned two yellow cards inside the first 17 minutes. Bheke earned himself a first yellow for a foul on Al Haydos. He earned his second caution for a hand ball and was sent off and the Blues were left with 10-men on the pitch.
Finally, Qatar made their possession and dominance count in the 33rd minute as Abdel Aziz scored from his shot inside the penalty box. The striker held off two challenges and struck from close range past Sandhu.
The Qataris tested the Indian goal with long range shots but Gurpreet had his angles covered mostly and kept the Blues at 1-0 going into the half-time break. Igor Stimac took off captain Sunil Chhetri at the break for Udanta Singh looking to attack the hosts on the counter.
The second half and the first almost played out in the same fashion as Qataris held onto large chunks of the ball and India chased it around looking for a moment of inspiration to bring them back into the game. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu pulled off a series of stunning saves to keep the scoreline respectable and his side still in the contest.
Qataris had a total of 38 shots out of which 10 were on target whereas Stimac’s side mustered only a single shot throughout the entire 90 minutes.
The Blue Tigers are yet to play against Bangladesh and Afghanistan and a victory in both of those games would mean Igor Stimac’s will finish 3rd in the overall standings. It would not be enough for a World Cup qualification but would surely boost the Indians in their next challenges.