Late Oman comeback dents India's hope in FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers

2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Joint-QUalifiers
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati
India 1 (Sunil Chhetri 24’) - Oman 2 (Al-Mandhar Al Alawi 82’, 90’)

Oman left it really late to dash India's hopes of securing a historic win at home in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers tie played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, on 5th September 2019.

Captain fantastic Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring for the Blue Tigers in the first half. A classic training ground set piece was given the perfect finishing touch by the golden boy of Indian football.

Oman vs India - FIFA WCQ
Oman defeated India in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Guwahati,
Picture Courtesy: AIFF Media Team
Surprisingly the team was so well set up by the freshly appointed Croatian coach Igor Stimac that it was not the first attempt India had. Udanta Singh had already struck the post by then apart from some other half chances. India dominated the first half in true footballing sense. Against a strong Oman side, Indian team defended and counter-attacked as a well-oiled unit. Oman came close to equalize though in the final few minutes of the first half when a cross was met by Oman captain Ahmed Al Mahaijri, but Gurpreet Singh pulled a save out of thin air much to the delight of the Blue Pilgrims.

India had two options - either to score one more goal to virtually seal the tie or to absorb the Oman attacks throughout the second half. Neither of those options were improbable with the display in the first half. India were in the tie till the majority of the tie but with the clock running down the fatigue was evident in the midfield and defense. Oman opted more direct approach and it was one such move that led to the equalizer. Al-Mandhar Al Alawi got the better of Indian defensive unit this time and for once Gurpreet's positioning was not best. A tiring Indian defense gave the visiting Oman team more confidence and they pushed for the winner.

A stunning effort from Al-Mandhar Aliwi cut back to his right foot leaving Sandesh Jhingan stranded and curled an effort right at the top corner. Silence prevailed as the Indian supporters were in disbelief. A hard lesson for Team India and Igor Stimac but they can hold their heads high with the effort they put against a strong Oman team.

India Starting XI: Gurpreet Singh; Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose; Anirudh Thapa, Rowllin Borges, Brandon Fernandes; Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh.
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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