The Indian Football Team suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against Qatar at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Ar-Rayyan in their final match of the second round of the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers on Tuesday.

The Blue Tigers took a first-half lead thanks to Lallianzuala Chhangte, raising hopes of advancing to the third round. However, two late goals by Yousef Aymen and Al-Rawi secured the victory for Qatar.

The hosts applied constant pressure from the outset, challenging India’s defensive line with their swift attacking moves. Qatar nearly scored the opener through Ahmed Al-Rawi in the 12th minute, but his first-time shot was heroically saved by Mehtab Singh, who displayed electrifying reflexes to deny the effort with his outstretched right foot.

After absorbing the initial pressure from the Maroons, the Blue Tigers started to find their way back into the game. Their first attempt came from Rahim Ali, who did well to get past his marker, but his low shot was wide of the target.

Minutes later, Al-Rawi continued to pose a potent threat to India, but the Qatar No. 10 lost possession to Rahul Bheke. The defender snatched the ball away from Al-Rawi, thwarting Qatar’s attacking move.

India got an excellent chance to open the scoring with Manvir Singh, but the winger couldn’t beat Shehab Ellethy in a one-on-one situation, leaving the scoreline unchanged until the 32nd minute.

Finally, their persistence paid off with Lallianzuala Chhangte’s sublime goal, which broke the deadlock and reignited the hopes of the Blue Tigers. A lovely ball played by Brandon Fernandes, who initiated the move from the edge of the box, found Chhangte behind the Qatar defenders, and Chhangte made no mistake in burying the ball in the back of the net.

With that, the Blue Tigers ended the first half with a one-goal lead after an end-to-end entertaining 45 minutes.

The Maroons started the second half aggressively, as they were desperate to level the score while playing on their home turf.

In the 54th minute, Khalid Ali beat Anwar Ali to make his way into the Indian box and squared it to Al Hassan. The Qatar No. 8 went for a first-time attempt, but Mehtab Singh made a great block to deny the Asian champions.

As the game progressed, the Blue Tigers continued to focus more on their defensive tactics, considering their slender one-goal advantage.

However, Qatar pulled one goal back with Yousef Aymen, who levelled the score in the 73rd minute.

After scoring the equalizer, the Maroons found their rhythm, shifting the momentum to their side as the opponents were slow to react after conceding the goal.

In the 85th minute, Al-Rawi put the home side ahead with his precise curler from the edge of the box, securing victory for Tintin Marquez’s side.

With that, the Blue Tigers' hopes of advancing to the third round were dashed.