Indian Football Robbed of a New Dawn by Poor Officiating

Last night’s game against Qatar was supposed to start a new era in Indian football. As the Blue Tigers took to the field against Qatar for the first time in the post-Sunil Chhetri era, everyone waited to see how things would pan out.

And it must be said that the Indians gave a good account of themselves. Mostly, they looked resolute in defence and posed a threat as we advanced on the counterattack. And whenever the Qatari’s managed to get in behind the Indian defence, our new skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu kept them at bay. For once it seemed like Igor Stimac’s men had a proper game plan and were managing to execute it to perfection as Lallianzuala Chhangte gave India the lead in the 37th minute and India took a precious lead into the half-time interval.

As the second half got underway, the Indians began counting down the minutes until they made it to the third qualification round for the first time in their history. Everything was going to plan until the 73rd minute when Jeakson Singh conceded a free-kick but the ball had gone out by the time Alhashmi Mohialdin pulled it back for Youssef Aymen to stab it home. Despite India’s vehement protests, the lack of VAR in the qualification round, meant that the goal stood.

.Following the concession of the goal, India tried to put on a brave face and stick to the task at hand, however, they could not recover from the psychological damage of conceding an illegitimate goal. Things went from bad to worse as an accomplished finish from Ahmed Al-Rawi clinched the game for Qatar a few minutes later.

The result meant that India crashed out of the World Cup Qualifiers in the second round and brought an end to India’s dream of qualifying for the World Cup at least for the next four years. While the result is disappointing in itself, what’s truly going to hurt the players and the fans alike is the manner of the defeat. The memory of this defeat will live long in the memory of all Indians for all the wrong reasons. Last night, Indian football was denied a new dawn not by worthy opponents but by poor officiating.

Image Credits – @fancode