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No one will hand us anything, we have to take it: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

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Doha, Jun 12 (PTI) Livid after the controversy-marred 1-2 defeat to Qatar in a do-or-die World Cup qualifying match, Indian football captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu called for a more aggressive approach by his teammates, saying that the “unfortunate result” has showed that “you don’t just need the hook but the crook as well.”

Following Lallianzuala Chhangte’s 37th minute goal, India led till the last 15 minutes of the regulation time and were on course for a stunning win over the Asian champions.

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But the hosts scored an outrageous equaliser after the ball had gone over the line. It was a stunning oversight by the South Korean match officials that left the Indians in disbelief.

“We had the belief, we had the chance to make amends even after everything. The boys gave everything on that pitch last night to make it happen but yet it didn’t,” Gurpreet said in a post on his X handle.

“Yesterday’s unfortunate result and the incident of the equaliser is a lesson that where we want to go, you don’t just need the hook but the crook as well. No one will hand us anything, we have to take it!” he added without elaborating the context of his remarks.

Gurpreet took over the captaincy after the talismanic Sunil Chhetri’s retirement in their last match against Kuwait, a goalless draw at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday.

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Gurpreet went on to thank the fans for their unwavering support, promising that the team would continue to strive to make them proud.

“For all the people who supported us throughout this campaign even with lows and the highs, thank you, we hear your and we will make you proud,” he added.

Gurpreet was in the thick of things when the ball went over the line and out of play.

To the horror of the Indian team, the South Korean match officials — referee Kim Woosung, Kang Dongho and Cheon Jinhee — completely ignored it and allowed the play to continue.

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As a result, Alhashmi Mohialdin pulled the ball back from Gurpreet’s grasp before Youssef Ayman guided the ball into the net.

With no VAR, India’s protests went in vain. It turned the tables for Qatar who scored the winner with a clean goal by Ahmed Al Rawi in the 85th minute.

Qatar thus progressed to the last-18 finishing Group A toppers, while Kuwait took the second spot with a win over Afghanistan at home.

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