Was India Robbed of FIFA World Cup Qualifying Chance? Qatar’s Controversial 2-1 Win Explained

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India

A massive controversy erupted during India’s FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier match against Qatar on Tuesday at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.

In the match, India was leading up until the 75th minute when the hosts struck a controversial goal to level the contest. Even after a lot of protest from the Indian side, the goal was awarded to Qatar by the officials.

After that the team tried a lot but was unable to fight back Qatar’s offense who scored a 2nd goal within the next 10 mins.

India never managed to recover from that disputed goal, and the heartbreaking 1-2 loss ended their World Cup dream, as they were eliminated from the tournament in the second round.

The Controversial Goal

In the 73rd minute of the match, Yousef Aymen struck the equalizer for Qatar after the ball had clearly gone out of play. Despite Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s protests, the match officials allowed the goal to stand, leading to widespread criticism of the refereeing decisions. With no VAR decision available, India felt wronged by what was described as “pathetic refereeing”.

India’s Historic Performance

Playing just five days after Sunil Chhetri’s international retirement, India surprised many by holding their own against Qatar. Lallianzuala Chhangte gave India a deserving lead in the 37th minute, but the controversial goal shifted the momentum in Qatar’s favor. Ahmed Al-Rawi scored the second goal for the Asian champions in the 85th minute, sealing their victory and progression to the next round of the qualifiers.

Lallianzuala Chhangte

Chhangte’s strike not only broke the deadlock but also etched his name in Indian football history, making him India’s highest-scoring active player with 8 goals. Despite the heartbreaking loss, India’s spirited performance left fans proud and hopeful for the future.

While India’s World Cup dream ended prematurely, the controversy surrounding the refereeing decisions will undoubtedly be a topic of debate for years to come.
However, the 1st half performance of the team (which was playing without Sunil Chettri for the 1st time) was a silver lining for the future of Indian football.

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