India were handed a 2-1 defeat to Qatar in their FIFA World Cup Qualifiers clash on June 11 in Doha, which came in the most controversial of manners. After India were given a lead in the 37th minute of the game by Lallianzuala Chhangte, Qatar equalised in the 73rd minute from a Yousef Aymen strike. However, the ball which ultimately led to Aymen's goal had clearly travelled outside the line before being rolled into the net, much to the utter frustration of India goalkeeper and skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. In the bigger picture, Kuwait defeating Afghanistan by 1-0 in the other fixture, meant that this defeat marked the end of the round 3 dreams for India.

Indian football fans could be left visibly fuming with the results, and very rightly so because of the numerous referring errors made in the match. The second-half of the game saw numerous clear-cut decisions go against India, which inevitably ruined the tempo of Stimac's side. India's defence, who were looking in one of their best forms in this game, could not even move on mentally from the Qatar equaliser and went on to concede another goal in the 85th minute by Ahmed Ali-Rawi.


Igor Stimac's starting eleven against Qatar could clearly be depicted as a sheet that has gone through some good thinking from the players' performance in the Kuwait clash. The likes of Anirudh Thapa, Shahal Abdul Samad and Liston Colaco were snubbed from the starting eleven, after showcasing a very lacklustre and ineffective performance against Kuwait, and their replacements in Manvir Singh and Brandon Fernandes were certainly up to the task against a very well-structured Qatar side.

India kept on with their flanks-focused attacking runs for the entire 25 minutes of the first half, and found much of the same ineffective fate as the Kuwait game. From the 30-minute mark, India started off playing more from the centre of the field on the top of brilliant forward runs from Chhangte and Manvir. The match saw Brandon Fernandes showcase his usual and sublime through balls, which ultimately led to the goal from Chhangte in the 37th minute of the game.

Since then, India carried out the majority of the attacks till the very end of the first-half. However, one would have expected the similar type of gameplay from India in order to close the game out. 
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