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‘Nothing handed out’

Updated on: 13 June,2024 06:49 AM IST  |  Doha

India football captain Gurpreet Singh claims his team were unfairly denied after Qatar claim controversial goal in do-or-die World Cup qualifier

‘Nothing handed out’

This TV screengrab of the action during the World Cup qualifier between India and Qatar in Doha on Tuesday night clearly shows the ball going out of play before the hosts pulled it back in and scored the equalifer

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‘Nothing handed out’

Livid after the controversy-marred 1-2 defeat to Qatar in a do-or-die World Cup qualifying match, Indian football captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu called for a more aggressive approach by his teammates, saying that the “unfortunate result” has showed that “you don’t just need the hook, but the crook as well.”

Chhangte’s opener

Following Lallianzuala Chhangte’s 37th minute goal, India led till the last 15 minutes of the regulation time and were on course for a stunning win over the Asian champions. But the hosts scored an outrageous equaliser after the ball had gone over the line. It was a stunning oversight by the South Korean match officials that left the Indians in disbelief.

“We had the belief, we had the chance to make amends even after everything. The boys gave everything on that pitch last night to make it happen, but yet it didn’t,” Gurpreet said in a post on his X handle.

“Yesterday’s unfortunate result and the incident of the equaliser is a lesson that where we want to go, you don’t just need the hook, but the crook as well. No one will hand us anything, we have to take it,” he added. Gurpreet took over the captaincy after the talismanic Sunil Chhetri’s retirement in their last match against Kuwait, a goalless draw at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday. 

In the 73rd minute, Qatar’s Abdullah Alahrak’s free-kick saw teammate Yousef Ayem attempt a header which was saved by Gurpreet, but as the custodian lay on the ground seeing the ball roll over the line, Hashmi Hussein kicked it into play and Aymen scored.

The incident

Since the ball had visibly rolled out of play, the game should have stopped and then resumed with a corner-kick in this case as Sandhu was the last player to come in contact with the ball before it went out. But South Korean referee  Kim WooSung allowed play to continue. Consequently, Qatar’s Alhashmi Mohialdin pulled the ball back before Youssef Ayman guided the ball into the net. With no VAR, India’s protests went in vain.

AIFF seek probe into controversial goal

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has lodged a complaint with the match commissioner, seeking a probe into the controversial goal awarded to Qatar in their World Cup qualifier in Doha.

Sources in the AIFF said they have asked for a “thorough investigation into the goal” that was allowed by South Korean referee Kim Woo-Sung despite the ball clearly going out of play during India’s 1-2 loss at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.

The goal sparked widespread outrage as it deprived the Indians of what would have been their maiden entry into the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for the 2026 edition. “We have lodged a complaint with the match commissioner and are seeking a thorough investigation into the whole thing,” said an AIFF official.

Iran’s Hamed Momeni was the match commissioner for this encounter.  The role requires the appointed official to supervise the organisation of the match and ensure that FIFA regulations are adhered to during the game.

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