India go down 1-3 against Qatar in Olympic qualifiers

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Doha, Jun 20: India unnerved a technically superior Qatar by taking the early lead but were eventually outplayed 1-3 here in their second round qualifying football match for the 2012 Olympics.

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua gave India the lead in the seventh minute before Qatar equalised in the 14th minute through Al Khanfan as the two sides went into the breather 1-1.

India could keep the home side at bay in the first half but they were completely outplayed in the second session, conceding two goals.

Captain Hasan Al Haydos made it 2-1 for Qatar in the 54th minute before substitute Mohammed Elneel scored in the 68th minute to complete the tally.

The scoreline could have been worse but Desmond Bulpin's under-23 boys saved that when goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani denied Qatari captain Al Haydos from the spot in the 11th minute and woodwork came to their aid twice late in the second session.

It will be a tough task for India to futher advance in the qualifying round as they now will have to beat Qatar 2-0 or better in the return leg at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex on June 23.

India capitalised on the initial nervousness from both sides, by taking the lead in the seventh minute with Jeje finding the target to the joy of Indian expatriates in the stands at the Al Sadd Stadium late last night. 

PTI

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