India coach Igor Stimac condemned what he called an "irregular" goal in a 2-1 defeat at Qatar that ended his team's World Cup 2026 qualifying hopes, saying: "It shouldn't happen."

The loss in Doha on Tuesday dashed India's dreams of reaching the third round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup for the first time.

India scored in the first half and were on course for a footballing landmark until Youssef Ayman equalised in the 73rd minute.

The goal was hugely controversial, with some television replays appearing to show that the ball had gone out of play just beforehand.

India's players, some of whom had stopped in the belief the ball had gone out, vehemently protested.

But with VAR technology not in use, the goal stood.

Asian champions Qatar, who had already qualified for the next round, scored the winner five minutes before the end to seal India's fate. 

"Qatar were lucky tonight, especially because they came back from 0-1 with an irregular goal," the former Croatia international defender Stimac told reporters.

"I can confirm that now because I have seen the replay. The whole ball was over the line and the goal was given."

He added: "It shouldn't be happening in today's football because that goal changed everything in this game.

"As an organisation, FIFA has enough power and resources, at least in the crucial games and the World Cup qualifiers, to use VAR."

"It's kind of an injustice to my boys tonight because we were very close to win this game and qualifying for the third round, but it didn't happen," he said.

India ended third in the group, with Kuwait joining Qatar in the next qualifying stage following a 1-0 home win over Afghanistan.