Qatar proved their superiority and higher ranking with an easy 0-3 win against India in their second FIFA World Cup 2026 Round 2 Qualifier game on Tuesday, November 21. A defeat also produced India’s first international defeat at home in 2023 and first loss in the crucial qualifiers.
Ranked 61st in the men’s team standings, Qatar dominated in every department from the very first-minute strike from Akram Afif. Moustafa Mashal, the star forward Almoez Ali and substitute winger Yousuf Abdurisag were on the target for the visiting team at Bhubaneshwar’s Kalinga Stadium.
Qatar entered the game after their 8-1 thrashing against Afghanistan in the opening game of the Round 2 Group A. India also registered a 1-0 victory against Kuwait in their first match but were no match against Qatar despite having a home advantage.
India head coach Igor Stimac started without a star midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad and the no.1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who famously turned out as a hero when both teams last faced each other.
Akram Afif ran the show in the first half with bein consistent threat down the left side. He missed an easy opportunity to score the goal in the opening minute but kept finding gaps in the final third. Qatar’s opening goal came from a corner after Udanta Singh’s poor clearance at the edge of the outside box. Mustafa Mashal thumped his effort past the Indian defence to give his side a lead in the fourth minute.
Qatar recorded eight corners in the first 35 minutes but India enjoyed some possession in the final ten minutes. Star midfielder Anirudh Thapa created the first chance with sharp dribbling skills inside the box but Apuia Ralte missed an open opportunity with an effort going wide of the net.
Almoez Ali scored the second goal of the game in the first few moments into the second half. Amarinder Singh failed to collect the short from Afif and a lost ball was easily converted by Almoez with no Indian defender to cover for the goalkeeper.
Indian midfielders created some chances in the second half with four shots but all were off target. Samad came as a substitute and saw his effort missed by a millimetre in the 65th minute. Qatar finished the game with young winger Yousuf Abdurisag scoring the third goal of the game in the 86th minute.
India Starting XI: Amrinder Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhashish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Anirudh Thapa, Suresh Singh, Apuia Ralte, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Chhangte, Nikhil Poojary
Qatar Starting XI: Meshaal Barsham, Pedro Miguel, Ahmed Fathi, Hassan Al Haydos, Akram Afif, Lucas Mendes, Homam Al Amin, Boualem Khoukhi, Almoez Ali, Tamim Mansour, Moustafa Mashal