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Our 3 points as India is beaten by Asian champions Qatar in World Cup Qualifier

India vs Qatar FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier

2 Goals at the start of both halves and a cherry at the top towards the end of the match meant that the defending Asian champions Qatar football team emerged victorious with a convincing 3-0 scoreline against India at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on 21st of November.

Over 11 thousand Indian faithfuls had attended the Indian football team's FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match against Qatar in Odisha last night. They were dealt a huge blow when the Indian football team's starting eleven was unveiled as head coach Igor Stimac has made a number of changes from the win against Kuwait.

Qatar found an early goal in the first half putting constant pressure on the Indian side as they scored in just the 4th minute of the first half as Moustafa Tarek Mashal scored for the visiting side. Throughout the first half, Blue Tigers struggled but looked really convincing for the last 10 minute or so of the first half.

At the start of 2nd half, Qatar once again scored an early goal. In the 2nd minute of the 2nd half, lethal striker Almoez Ali found the back of the net. Qatar scored the 3rd goal in the 86th minute as substitute Yousuf Abdurisag found the back of the net and sealed a 3-0 win for The Maroons brigade.

While India were always predicted to come out second best in the match, there were some positives and some negatives that the head coach Igor Stimac need to work on before their next assignment, the AFC Asian Cup in January 2024. Let's take a look at 3 takeaways from India's match against Qatar.

1. 39-years-young Sunil Chhetri

While the Indian captain Sunil Chhetri did not find the back of the net, but he was one of the most impressing player in the match for the hosts. The leader of the Blue Tigers was seen constantly pressing the Qatari goalkeeper and defence and despite being 39, had no issue running all around the park, as if he was a 19-years-old kid. It's his pressing game that created a great opportunity for Anirudh Thapa to equalize in the first-half itself, but he shoot it wide with his outside of the boot attempt. Chhetri was eventually subbed off in the 2nd half.

2. No missing Akash Mishra

Mumbai City FC's left-back Akash Mishra has undoubtedly become the first-choice left-back for the Igor Stimac. The former Hyderabad FC full-back has provided solid performance wearing the blue jersey, defensively as well as attacking. But last night the Mumbai City player was dropped from the starting XI and it was Mohun Bagan Super Giant left-back Subhasish Bose who called on for duty and boy did he stepped-up. 

While the Indian team was struggling to soak the pressure in the first few minutes of the match, Subhasish looked active, both defensive and attacking wise. Throughout the match, Subhasish and Lallianzuala Chhangte created trouble for the Qatari right side. Ahead of the AFC Asian Cup, this is a great sign for the Indian head coach Igor Stimac that India has two good left-backs in the form of Akash Mishra and Subhasish Bose.

3. Find the back of the net

For those of the fans who didn't watch the match, they may feel that India did not put-up any fight against the Asian champions, as the scoreline suggests. Well, India did struggle in the first couple of the minutes of the match, but the Blue Tigers round the footing as the game progressed. That led to India created some great chances, one being Anirudh Thapa's outside of the boot shot that should have helped India equalize in the first half, but he shot it wide. 

Sahal Abdul Samad also got a great opportunity to score one for the Blue Tigers, but his shooting was not accurate. India need get few for opportunities, but were difficult than the two aforementioned. All in one, Head Coach Igor Stimac need his boys to step-up their performance infront of the goal.

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