India U-23 football team loses to Qatar, out of AFC Championship qualifying race

India U-23 football team lost their second successive match at the 2018 AFC Championship qualifiers, this time losing to Qatar to bow out of race to enter the main round

football Updated: Jul 22, 2017 11:14 IST
India U-23 football team,AFC Championship,Stephen Constantine
The India U-23 football team leaves the field after losing to Qatar at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers.(AIFF)

India U-23 lost their second successive match at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers as they went down 0-1 to Qatar on Friday. India are at the bottom of four-team Group C.

Only the top two teams from a group shall enter the main round to be played next year. Currently hosts Qatar are at the top spot of the Group C with six points while Syria are at the second spot with four points. Turkmenistan are third with one point, while India are yet to open their account.

India had lost to Syria 0-2 in the opening game. India will next play Turkmenistan on Sunday.

Against Qatar, India showed flair but eventually ended up going down by a solitary goal by Almoez Ali in the 54th minute. This was their second victory in the Championship.

Much like the first match against Syria U-23, the Indians pressed hard right from the kick-off. Qatar did have more possession in the first half but were unable to open the Indian goalmouth, as the two Teams headed into the interval locked goalless.

Changing over, the Indians shook the hosts just two minutes into the second half when Nandha Kumar’s long-ranger left-footer missed the target by a whisker.

Davinder, who started for the first time in the tournament, curled in from the right flank in the 53rd minute but none could reach on time to make the best out of it.

Nevertheless, Qatar managed to surge into the lead. The ball popped out of Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith’s hands as he rushed out to intercept a long ball, allowing striker Almoez Ali to gleefully slot home.

India had their last chance in the 93rd minute but Thapa’s try from the top of the box sailed over.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 10:58 IST