India loses to Oman after taking the lead in the opening of the Qualifying World Cup
GUWAHATI: Captain Sunil Chhetri The early strike was in vain as India gave up an advantage of a goal by losing 1-2 to Oman in his inaugural game of Qualifications for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Thursday.
Oman, who ranks 87th, joined to score twice Alawi Al Mandhar Rage in the last eight minutes of regulatory time.
Chhetri, 35, the second highest scorer of international football among active players, pushed India in the 24th minute with his 72nd blow.
However, Mandhar broke the hearts of the Indians when he hit the ball beyond Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to restore parity in the 82nd minute. More disappointment was in the shop for India ranked 103 when Mandhar completed his key in the 89th minute in An impressive change.
India dominated the first half with more shots on goal from the opposition and also enjoyed possession.
Ashique Kuruniyan, who returned to the team after missing the Copa del Rey and the Intercontinental Cup due to an injury, created problems for Oman's defense with his rhythm and tricks on the left channel.
After a run on the left flank in the 24th minute, Abdulaziz Al Ghailani fouled him and India received a free kick on the left edge of the area.
Brandon Fernandes took the piece from the set, sent a punishment in the middle of the box and Chhetri cheated on his marker to punch a left foot in the Oman net, for the celebration of a vociferous crowd.
Prior to that, India was denied leadership in the 15th minute when Udanta Singh's shot of a Chhetri pass beat the Omani goalkeeper, but hit the crossbar, to the dismay of the home team. Udanta was also denied a similar goal against the United Arab Emirates in the Asian Cup earlier this year.
There were periods of relentless Indian attack in the first half and central defender Sandesh Jhingan sent the ball over the crossbar in a free header from a corner taken by Anirudh Thapa in the 20th minute.
Oman pressed hard in the final stages of the first half and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a great stop in the 43rd minute, blocking a header from Ahmed Kano in a one-on-one situation to keep India's lead intact.
The visitors made a strong fight in the second half to leave the local team disappointed.