Qatar pip India

Qatar pip India

The band of the local Doha crowd which had taken over the Al Sadd more than an hour prior to the kick-off went off all of a sudden in the seventh minute. Despite the floodlights glowing, there seemed darkness all around, or rather disbelief as India took a shocking lead. What was supposed to be a harmless throw-in down the left, stung Qatar. The power and the velocity of Raju Gaikwad’s long throw left the hosts’ defence guessing and in the melee, Jeje Lalpeklua tapped home to give the visitors 1-0 lead.

The Indian supporters in the stadium went berserk while the locals looked up to the giant screen only to see the Indian boys celebrating.  Three minutes later, Indian goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani saved a penalty. Qatar’s captain Hasan al Haydos’ shot was saved by Kattimani after he was brought down on the edge of the box.

An upset stayed on the cards until Qatar pulled it back when Al Khalfan slotted home a through pass to beat an advancing Kattimani. The Indians were pushed to defence for the rest of the first half.  In the second half, Haydos found the target with a long-ranger which beat a diving Kattimani in the 54th minute to make it 2-1 for Qatar. The flurry of attacks resulted in the third goal for Qatar in the 68th minute. Substitute Mohamed Elneel scored from close range.

The Indians pressed hard for the second away-goal but Jeje and Sabeeth didn’t get much support from an off-colour Lalrindika and Jewel Raja.  The second-leg will be played at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on June 23.

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