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India squander lead, lose 1-2 to Qatar

By The Assam Tribune

GUANGZHOU, Nov 9 (PTI): India let in two goals in the last 10 minutes after leading 1-0 to suffer a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to defending champions Qatar in their second group match of the Asian Games football competition here today.

India, who lost 0-2 to Kuwait in their opening match, produced an impressive show and took the lead in the 18th through Dharmaraj Ravanan, who headed in a flag kick.

Sukhvinder Singh�s boys dictated terms on their fancied opponents in the first half but conceded two late goals to end the match empty handed. Striker Jaralla Ali struck twice in the 80th and 88th minutes to break the hearts of the Indians.

Both the goals came after first choice goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani had to be replaced by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as the former suffered an injury in a collision with Qatari midfielder Saleh Mohamed during a scramble for the ball minutes after the resumption of second half.

Not wanting to take any chances, Kattimani was taken to a local hospital for MRI scan and he was ruled out of any serious problems.

Gurpreet was found out of position when Jaralla sent a looping header into the empty Indian goal for the equaliser in the 80th minute.

Sukhvinder brought in striker Jagtar Singh in place of Balwant Singh in the 83rd minute but that did not make much difference in the Indian attack.

Instead, India conceded a goal two minutes before the regulation time with Jaralla�s left footer from the edge of the box finding the target.

The Indians went all out for a desperate equaliser in the last few minutes and four minutes of injury time but to no avail. India will now have to beat Singapore in their last Group D game on Thursday if they want to make it to the knock-out stage of the under-23 competition.

The top two teams from each of four groups and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the Round of 16.

Three Indians � Rowlinson Rodrigues, Robert Lalthlamuana and Khagembam Jibon � were also booked for rough play.

Coach Sukhvinder Singh started with the same eleven that began against Kuwait. Jeje Lalpekhlua was in the starting line-up despite a below par performance against Kuwait.

Sukhvinder was happy with the performance of his boys and rued that they ended without any points.

�We really played well today, much better than the Kuwait match. We created many chances and the way boys played in the first half, it was a treat to watch,� Sukhvinder said.

�We were unfortunate to concede two quick goals, which could have been avoided for sure. We also missed two sitters, Balwant missed a one-to-one chance, which could have changed the whole course of the game. On the whole, I am very much pleased with today�s performance,� he said.

�We are still not out of contention for a knock-out berth. We have to beat Singapore now,� added the former JCT coach.

Asked about Kattimani�s injury, Sukhvinder said, �We have done an MRI on him and the team doctor said there is nothing serious. His neck and spine are safe.�

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India squander lead, lose 1-2 to Qatar

GUANGZHOU, Nov 9 (PTI): India let in two goals in the last 10 minutes after leading 1-0 to suffer a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to defending champions Qatar in their second group match of the Asian Games football competition here today.

India, who lost 0-2 to Kuwait in their opening match, produced an impressive show and took the lead in the 18th through Dharmaraj Ravanan, who headed in a flag kick.

Sukhvinder Singh�s boys dictated terms on their fancied opponents in the first half but conceded two late goals to end the match empty handed. Striker Jaralla Ali struck twice in the 80th and 88th minutes to break the hearts of the Indians.

Both the goals came after first choice goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani had to be replaced by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as the former suffered an injury in a collision with Qatari midfielder Saleh Mohamed during a scramble for the ball minutes after the resumption of second half.

Not wanting to take any chances, Kattimani was taken to a local hospital for MRI scan and he was ruled out of any serious problems.

Gurpreet was found out of position when Jaralla sent a looping header into the empty Indian goal for the equaliser in the 80th minute.

Sukhvinder brought in striker Jagtar Singh in place of Balwant Singh in the 83rd minute but that did not make much difference in the Indian attack.

Instead, India conceded a goal two minutes before the regulation time with Jaralla�s left footer from the edge of the box finding the target.

The Indians went all out for a desperate equaliser in the last few minutes and four minutes of injury time but to no avail. India will now have to beat Singapore in their last Group D game on Thursday if they want to make it to the knock-out stage of the under-23 competition.

The top two teams from each of four groups and the four best third-placed teams will qualify for the Round of 16.

Three Indians � Rowlinson Rodrigues, Robert Lalthlamuana and Khagembam Jibon � were also booked for rough play.

Coach Sukhvinder Singh started with the same eleven that began against Kuwait. Jeje Lalpekhlua was in the starting line-up despite a below par performance against Kuwait.

Sukhvinder was happy with the performance of his boys and rued that they ended without any points.

�We really played well today, much better than the Kuwait match. We created many chances and the way boys played in the first half, it was a treat to watch,� Sukhvinder said.

�We were unfortunate to concede two quick goals, which could have been avoided for sure. We also missed two sitters, Balwant missed a one-to-one chance, which could have changed the whole course of the game. On the whole, I am very much pleased with today�s performance,� he said.

�We are still not out of contention for a knock-out berth. We have to beat Singapore now,� added the former JCT coach.

Asked about Kattimani�s injury, Sukhvinder said, �We have done an MRI on him and the team doctor said there is nothing serious. His neck and spine are safe.�