Qatar’s equaliser against India in the second half was given by the referee despite the ball going out of play, as seen on telecast, at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Tuesday.

In the 73rd minute, Abdullah Alahrak’s free-kick saw Yousef Ayem attempt an header, which was saved by India, but as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, India’s goalkeeper lied down, seeing the ball roll out of play, Hashmi Hussein kicked it into play with Aymen slotting it into the net.

Why were the Indian players protesting?

Since the ball had visibly rolled out of play, the game should have stopped and then resumed with either a goalkick or a corner-kick depending on the last player who had contact with the ball.

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In this case, Sandhu touched the ball last and the Indian players expected the referee to blow for a corner kick and hence let their guard down and were relaxed, which is why the players started protesting when Qatar continued playing.

Does Qatar have a case?

According to the International Football Association Board, ‘the ball is out of play if it is wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air.’

Qatar could have a case saying that the ball was not out of play entirely and the ball was tangentially touching the touchline and was not out of play.

Since the 2nd round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers has no VAR, the goal was awarded by the referee and his decision could not be reversed.

Has this happened before in FIFA World Cups?

In the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Japan and Germany clashed in the group stage as the former emerged victorious after a controversial winning goal was awarded by VAR to Japan.

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Kaoru Mitoma raced to save a ball from going out of bounds behind the net, and hit a pass to teammate Ao Tanaka to banged it home, the refs initially judged that the ball had gone out before Mitomo crossed it.

While the replays seemed to show the ball was out, VAR reversed the call and gave Japan the deciding goal.