India’s Olympic Dream Is Over




India’s Olympic dream is over

India’s Olympic dream is over

A desperate India needed to win by a margin of two goals against Qatar in the pre-Olympic qualifier first round second leg tie. India badly messed up a penalty and then due to a horrible mix-up by Qatar, resulted in a self-goal, giving India an unexpected 54th minute lead. But the visitors i.e. the Qataris pulled off an equalizer in the 73rd minute from Mohd Salah. This gave them a 4-2 as aggregate score over the two legs.

During the first half of the game, India was not letting its stronger, quicker rivals to take any type of control over the game. The tackles were crisp and mostly the hustling tactics by Indians did not leave any time for the Qataris as they were searching for team mates to pass the ball. But one could very well notice that India’s attack was completely one-dimensional as they directed passes and the clearances were thrown right into Jeje’s direction.

There was some serious playing from both the teams, as there were many shots worth mentioning. Let’s list down a few of them.

The penalty was awarded to Qatar when Jeje attempted to sweep the ball straight to the net but instead struck defender Hussein’s hand. The Qatari goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb was unable to react quickly to a back pass from Khaled Muftah from the right flank and let the ball roll into an unguarded net!

Goalkeeper Al Sheeb blocked one of Raite’s finest shot with a powerful leap to his left. This ruined India’s best chance to move ahead 20 minutes into the game.

For a good news, the Indian goalkeeper Kattimani was beaten just once during the match. It happened when Ansari flew the ball across the goalmouth beyond the reach of an Indian defender for teammate Salah to make the net for the first time.

India’s striker Jeje as already mentioned was forced into first-time shots even when he was completely marked by defenders. Due to the pressure, there were quite a few weak shots. In one particular pass from Sabeeth he got a hasty tipover from the goalkeeper. There was a missed goal from Gaikwad too, as the ball bounced into the goalkeeper’s gloves.

On the other end, Kattimani keeping for India, anticipated Ansari’s low shot to the right post as Qatar pressed forward in an attempt to stretch the rival defence Kattimani couched low on the goal line and collected the floater by Haidous before any Qatari player could come close. In the first half, Kattimani did an excellent job in handling the ball when it broke through the defence.

In the second half, Manandeep Singh replaced Sabeeth as Jeje’s striking partner and Abhisek Das was substituted by Jagtar Singh in the hunt for goals.

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Monica Mishra

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