Doha: India began their AFC U-19 Championship qualifying campaign on a disappointing note as they lost 0-2 in their opening group match against Qatar here.
The Indians held their own against the Qataris till the hour mark but conceded two goals thereafter to lose the match at the Al Arabi Stadium last night.
Akram Hassan scored from the spot in the 60th minute after the hosts enjoyed a good spell of fifteen minutes at the beginning of the second half. Substitute Abdullah made it 2-0 in the 89th minute.
"I am disappointed with the result but not the performance," The head of the Indian team Colm Toal said at the post-match press conference.
"The first 15 minutes in the second half turned the game on its head. I should congratulate the Qatari Coach for changing tactics at the right time and playing more direct. That worked for them," he added.
If the second half belonged to Qatar, the first half was dominated by the Indians.
Germanpreet Singh impressed on both the flanks as he fed Kumam Udanta Singh on the right in 23rd minute before switching flanks to send a teasing cross for Daniel Lalhlimpuia to hit wide.
Udanta Singh`s another fine effort from the right in the 27th minute was somehow tipped over by Qatar goalkeeper Yousuf Hassan Mohammed Ali. Just at the stroke of halftime, Shaiborlang Kharpan shot inches wide.
Qatar`s doggedness in the final third paid off in the 60th minute when Akram Hassan converted from the spot.
India reacted quickly and tried to catch Qatar on the counter. Coach Colm Toal ringed in the changes in search of an equaliser.
SK Faiaz came in place of Kharpan and Alen Deory replaced Daniel in the 59th and 65th minutes respectively. Uttam Rai was introduced in the 83rd minute with Germanpreet making way for the striker.
But it was not India`s day as Qatar striker Abdullah doubled the lead at the death to take the game away from the Indians.
India play Nepal on Sunday in their second match.