A wonder strike from Sunil Chhetri proved to be insufficient as the Indians began their World Cup journey with a loss. The 2-1 loss to Oman sees the Indian Tigers suffer a major jolt to their dreams of playing in a World Cup. However, Stephen Constantine lived up to his promise and our Men in Blue gave the rather strong Oman side a fight.
India will take on Guam next in their Preliminary 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
Quasim Said nets opener in opening 20 seconds
The start of the match threw an interesting twist right in the first minute. Little did anyone know that the scoreboard would be disturbed within the first few seconds. Three passes was all it took for Quasim Said to run through the Indian defence to open the scoring with 20 seconds played! New Indian skipper Arnab Mondal was already handed his first setback.
A few minutes later, Said had another chance, only for his chance to be saved by the impressive Subrata Pal. Emad Al Hosni and Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali too had chances to increase the margin, only to be denied by Subrata.
Sunil Chhetri screamer secures equaliser for India, Al Hosani nets winner
Former Indian skipper Sunil Chetri too lived up to his promise as he too netted his first goal in a while. Chhetri’s goal however was one to savour. Apart from bringing the Blue Tigers back into the match, Sunil Chhetri netted perhaps the best goal scored by an Indian player yet. Having ample support from Jackichand Singh, Chhetri cut into the penalty box and curled the ball past Ali Al-Habsi.
Sunil Chhetri’s wonder strike was however in vain as a needless ill timed tackle by the Indian defence saw Oman earn a penalty. In spite of a few glitches, Emad Al Hosani slammed the ball past Subrata Pal to give Oman a well deserved 2-1 lead at half time.
India fail to find equaliser
The second half saw Sunil Chhetri and co fail to find a way past a resolute Oman defensive unit. While Oman went on attacking, the Indians found it hard to keep pace with the Asian giants. Bringing on Seityasen Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh and Jeje Lalpheklua failed to add to the firepower as the gritty Oman side held on.
CK Vineeth came close a few minutes past the hour mark, only for the linesman to rule offside. A decision that will be hotly debated in the days to come as replays seemed to indicate there was no interference by Robin Singh.
Therefore, the match came to a close with a 19,000 odd hearts at the Kanteerava broken even as the Oman squad heaved a sigh of relief on registering a crucial win.
India 1 (Sunil Chhetri 26) lost to Oman 2 (Quasim Said 1, Emad Al Hosani 42