‘Blatant cheating’: Indian football fans outraged after controversial referee decision in FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Qatar : The Tribune India

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‘Blatant cheating’: Indian football fans outraged after controversial referee decision in FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Qatar

Fans and players are calling for accountability and transparency in officiating, hoping such a debacle is not repeated

‘Blatant cheating’: Indian football fans outraged after controversial referee decision in FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Qatar

Qatar's Khaled Ali Binsabaa in action with India's Jeakson Singh. Reuters



Tribune Web Desk

Chandigarh, June 12

Indian football fans have been outraged following a controversial referee decision that allowed a disputed goal from Qatar.

The match, held at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, saw India succumb to a heartbreaking 1-2 defeat to Qatar in a do-or-die FIFA World Cup qualifying match. The incident has led social media users branding the decision as ‘blatant cheating’ and accusing the referee of robbing India of a fair chance.

The match marked the beginning of the post-Sunil Chhetri era, under head coach Igor Stimac. 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.

Indian skipper and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saved the goal from Aymen. As the ball slipped through Sandhu’s legs and rolled out of play, Qatari forward Al Hassan pulled it back from behind the line and squared it to Aymen, who slotted it into the net while Indian defenders prepared for a corner kick. Despite immediate protests from Indian players and the linesman’s attempts to disallow the goal, the referee allowed it to stand, levelling the score at 1-1.

Replays clearly showed that the ball had crossed the line, but the decision remained.

India conceded another goal in the dying minutes, resulting in a 2-1 defeat.

Indian football fans and players are calling for accountability and transparency in officiating, hoping that such a debacle is not repeated.

Sandhu called for a more aggressive approach by his teammates, saying the ‘unfortunate result’ has showed that ‘you don’t just need the hook but the crook as well’.

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