Despite Qatar’s relentless pressure, India did find chances but they failed to convert any of them, resulting in a 0-3 drubbing in Bhubaneshwar.
India Football Team would happily take a 0-3 loss to Asian champions Qatar after a lacklustre performance in their second 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 2 match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Sunil Chhetri & Co were caught offguard with the Maroons pressing them from the word-go. While Blue Tigers did avert an embarrassing scoreline, head coach Igor Stimac was not happy with missed opportunities in India vs Qatar clash.
0-1 down inside first five minutes, India Football Team did create chances to level the scoreline. But wasteful India failed to find the back of the nets. With India failing to capitalise on the chances, Qatar punished them early in the second half. Almoez Ali scored the second goal in the 46th minute while Yusuf Abdurisag made it 3-0 to doom India to a defeat.
Stimac asserted that it was a valuable lesson for the team, and it is an essential component of the learning process.
“When you go down early in the game against Qatar, you need to fear a heavy defeat. That’s part of the learning process. And it’s a good lesson for us today – against a team like this, you cannot give away anything. Maybe we had too much respect for them,” Igor Stimac said at the post-match press conference.
Despite the relentless pressure from Qatar, India had a chance to equalise. In the 42nd minute, Anirudh Thapa had a great chance to score when Boualem Khoukhi fumbled the ball just beyond the area. It was all due to Indian captain Sunil Chhetri’s persistent pressure. He played it nicely for Thapa, but despite beating Qatar custodian Meshaal Barsham, his shot flew wide of the post.
Speaking on that note Igor Stimac said:
“Although we conceded the goal but anyway we prevented arising in the game. You can see after nervousness in the first 10-15 minutes which created four or five corners for Qatar. We didn’t have these corners because Qatar were always getting there first they were doing blocks for each other and getting them onto the opposing corners.”
In spite of Qatar’s doubling lead early in the second half, the Indian Football Team only had one chance. In the 65th minute. Suresh Singh produced an excellent midfield turn and found Sahal Abdul Samad free on the left. He did break into the Qatar box with only the custodian to beat, but his attempt sailed well wide of the second post.
“Apart from that everything was good you know. we were progressing in our game we were rising up. I think we have to go to situations like this. That’s again another opportunity for us but it didn’t happen. But you know congratulations on coming out of the defeat or three. We still need to work a lot. “ Igor Stimac concluded.