The Indian community team emerged victorious at the Asian Communities Football Tournament (ACFT) organised by the Qatar Football Association (QFA), defeating Palestine 3-2 in the final of the 2021-22 edition, played at the Doha Stadium on Saturday evening.
India won their second title in the competition following a thrilling 60-minute game before a passionate crowd of supporters, and in the presence of Indian ambassador Dr Deepak Mittal.
Palestine opened the scoring through Omar Nasser in the sixth minute, before India roared back through goals from Mohamed Mufeer Ali and Reed Siemen in the 17th and 24th minutes.
After the halftime break, Sadhik Pulikkal extended India’s lead with a third goal in the 35th minute, and the team looked to be moving comfortably towards the title until Palestine were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute.
Mahmoud Bader stepped up and converted the kick to set up a dramatic finale, but India withstood the pressure to claim victory and take home the trophy.
The Indian community team was organised by the Indian Sports Centre (ISC), which selected players through a special trial camp.
ISC president Dr Mohan Thomas had appointed non-Indian referees at the camp for selection of the players.
A group of 30 players were chosen at the camp and trained rigorously for the series.
The team had received complete support from Dr Mittal and embassy's defence attache Captain Mohan Atla, the ISC's patron and co-ordinating officer, respectively.
They extended continuous encouragement to the team by attending and cheering for all the key matches and the finals.
Dr Thomas, ISC advisory board chairman Mohamed Easa and managing committee members Safeer Rahman, John Desa and Yawar Ali were also present at the post-match ceremony.
In a tweet yesterday, the Indian embassy congratulated the team.