qatar vs india goal controversy

“Cheating” trends on X and other social media platforms after India’s controversial defeat to Qatar in 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

It was an evening to remember for Indian football fans for all the wrong reasons as the nation crashed out of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a controversial fashion on Tuesday (June 11). The match played in Doha, which could have seen India qualify for the third round of World Cup qualifiers was merged with controversy as Qatar beat the Blue Tigers 2-1. The match went down in the memory lanes of fans a one where justice was not served to India when Qatar was wrongly awarded an equaliser in the 73rd minute.

Qatar vs India Goal Controversy: “Cheating” Trends on X

Soon after the match, Indian fans lost their cool and took to the internet to show their discontent over the incident. Fans on X (previously Twitter) trended ‘#cheating’ to show their discontent on the issue which cost India its place in the next phase of the World Cup qualifiers while also denying them a direct passage into the Asian Cup 2027. Some fans even called out the AFC (governing body of Asian football) to replay the match as India was on the brink of qualification to the next round.

What was the incident?

In the 73rd minute, Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh kept out Yousef Aymen’s header to keep intact India’s 1-0 lead, which could have seen them finish second in the qualifier group. Soon after the save, the ball was partially cleared by Gurpreet but his ricochet with Qatar’s other attacker had seen the ball go out for a goal kick. However, the ball was pulled out and passed back to Aymen who tapped the ball from a close range to score Qatar’s equaliser.

Indian players at that point were convinced that the ball had gone out for a goal kick and waited for the referee’s decision. However, in a bizarre decision the goal was allowed to stand in the absence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) the goal was awarded to Qatar.

Television replays and footage from the ground would later indicate that the ball had crossed the line and the goal should have been disallowed.

Qatar would later score one more goal in the 85th minute to win the match and thereby condemn India to third place. It was Kuwait who instead qualified for the third round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers while also booking their place in the Asian Cup 2027. They beat Afghanistan 1-0 in their match where they scored an 81st minute winner.

Also Read: Qatar vs India Player Ratings as Mehtab and Gurpreet Shine