A winless India stayed in fourth place in Group E with three points from six games.
Published: June 04, 2021 12:39 AM |
Last updated: June 04, 2021 12:52 AM
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A 10-man India defended themselves commendably well when they suffered a 1-0 loss to Qatar. (Photo @IndianFootball)
CHENNAI: Playing with eleven men against the Asian champions Qatar would be difficult enough for India, but Igor Stimac’s team had to play more than 70 minutes with only ten men in Doha on Thursday. The result was as expected when Qatar recorded a 1-0 win over India. India remains fourth in Group E with three points.
Right-back Rahul Bheke was sent off after two yellow cards in the 17th minute. The first warning came in the ninth minute after a foul on Hassan Al-Haydos, while the marching orders for Bheke came eight minutes later after a handball.
Bheke’s dismissal dispelled all of India’s small hopes for a favorable result. After a series of half-chances, Qatar finally punished India in the 33rd minute. Abdulaziz Hatem made the breakthrough with a left-footed shot, defeating India’s goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
As expected, Qatar found its way through the Indian defense sovereign and increased attack after attack. As India struggled to string many sensible passes together, they rarely managed to get into Qatar’s half in the first 45 minutes.
India had the only chance in the 30th minute when Ashique Kuruniyan crossed on the left almost found Manvir Singh’s right foot in the box, but a timely interception by Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi helped them avoid a rare moment of danger.
At the start of the second half, Stimac, Udanta Singh chose To get Skipper Sunil Chhetri. With Chhetri’s presence going to be more valuable against relatively easier opponents in Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Stimac’s decision to pull Chhetri off and not risk injury to the seasoned striker was understandable.
Game play was largely predictable in the second half as Qatar was its dominance further claimed. A number of Qatari players had chances to double the lead, but Gurpreet did well to keep India on the hunt, at least in theory. The lanky goalkeeper was the star of India’s 0-0 draw with Qatar two years ago and he was in similar shape on a warm Thursday night.
India would have been relieved to have limited Qatar to just one goal, but to To be able to do well against Bangladesh in four days, you have to make better use of the ball.
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