Asian Champions Qatar defeated 10-man India in the FIFA World Cup qualifier match at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Thursday. The Men in Blue lost one player after Rahul Bheke received a red card in the 17th minute of the game. However, Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu put a striking effort as he made 9 crucial saves to stop Qatar's attackers. 30-year-old Abdulaziz Hatem scored the opening goal of the game for the table toppers in the 33rd minute. The strike ultimately decided the fate of the contest.
India’s Manvir Singh missed a couple of chances in the second half, with the goalkeeper continuing his efforts to limit the opposition’s attacks. India also got in Udanta Singh for skipper Sunil Chhetri, although they couldn’t equalize and suffered another defeat. However, this was a comparatively better game for India than the goalless draw in the first leg in September 2019 against the same opposition.
Abdulaziz’s solitary goal helped Qatar establish their dominance in Group E standings.
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Group E standings
Asian Champions Qatar dominate the Group E standings unrivalled with 19 points. They have won six out of seven games played so far. Meanwhile, India have only 3 points from six matches and are at No. 4 position, above Bangladesh who are languishing at bottom spot with 2 points. Oman and Afghanistan stand next to Qatar with 12 and 5 points, respectively. The Blue Tigers will now take on Bangladesh and Afghanistan on June 7 and June 15, respectively, at Doha.
While Qatar are ranked 58th in the FIFA Rankings, Team India stand at 105th position. As of now, India are bidding to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup, though they are out of contention for 2022 FIFA World Cup.