Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri ’s goal in the first half of the match went in vain as India lost to Oman 2-1 in the opening match of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on Thursday. The match was being played at Guwahati.
Skipper Chhetri scored the goal in the 24th minute of the match and India were the happier side going into the half time break.
However, it was in the last ten minutes of the match that Oman turned the match on its head as Al-Mandhar produced a match-winning brace (82nd and 90th-minute goals) to spoil India’s plan of registering a win against their higher-ranked opponent.
India missed the chance early on in just the fourth minute of the match when Udanta Singh’s effort found the woodwork. However, it was Sunil Chhetri’s magic that gave India the opening goal.
A couple of minutes later, Oman skipper Ahmed al Mahaijri had an opportunity to equalise but failed to make use of that chance as Indian goalie, Gurpeet Singh Sandhu, did not let it go past him but parried it away to a point-blank range and Mahaijri failed to score on the rebound opportunity.
Although Sandhu bailed India out of trouble many times in the match, they came back in the last ten minutes. Al-Mandhar Al Alawi dinked the first goal over Gurpreet to equalise in the 82nd minute and then cut in swiftly from the left to rifle his kick which found the back of the net in the 90th minute of the match.
Despite, Igor Stimac’s team defeat in the match, India managed to put in a spirited show and would take plenty of positives from their match against Oman.
However, they would know that they missed out on collecting crucial points on the table especially after dominating the first half. India not only created more chances but had more possession of the ball in the first half. A better second half or more opportunities converted into goals in the first half could have sealed it for India but that was not to be on Thursday.