India go down fighting to Qatar in AFC U-23 C'ships qualifiers
India dished out a gritty performance to rattle hosts Qatar but eventually lost by a solitary goal to exit from the AFC U-23 Championships qualifiers here.
The Indians dominated the second half and almost found the equaliser but only for the woodwork to deny them. But Almoez Ali's 54th minute strike made all the difference at the Al Sadd Stadium on Friday night.
With the narrow win, Qatar took a major step towards the 2018 AFC U-23-Championship in China. They now have six points from two matches and need just a point from their last match against Syria to emerge as the group winners.
For India, it was their second consecutive defeat after their loss against Syria in their campaign opener.
Qatar, the more fancied side, struggled to find their rhythm as India put up a spirited performance. After a drab first half in which chances were few for both sides, India's Lallianzuala Chhangte let fly a left footer from distance that flew centimetres over the bar.
But a few minutes later it was Qatar who were celebrating. Almoez chased a high pass and challenged Indian goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, who made a mess of the ball allowing the Qatari striker to slot the ball into an empty net.