Sunil Chhetri: "It is difficult to swallow. I think we didn't keep the ball in the second half. It's not easy if we keep giving the ball to a team like Oman. That's something we need to work on. The boys fought really well. It wasn't easy but after the first goal, we probably should have held the ball better. It was a good chance of playing at home: 1-0 at 70 minutes. We should have seen out the game. There were some good individual performances. I think we gave the ball away too much (difference from the first half). The mentality probably set in that we had to hold the 1-0 lead. It is not easy though against a side who pass and move the ball well. There were many crosses. The coach will tell how to work on the mistakes. It will be the most difficult match of the group (away to Qatar net week). As a team, we need to go and give whatever we have. We need to keep fighting and not make the small mistakes which cost us the points."
India are ranked 103rd in the world and Oman are ranked 87th. The last meeting between India and Oman was a friendly in December last year, which ended in a goalless draw. India has never won against Oman in a FIFA-recognised match. India will next travel to Doha to face Qatar in their next FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier on September 10, with Afghanistan and Bangladesh being the other two teams that make up Group E. MATCH REPORT
India coach Igor Stimac: "I was repeating at half time 'don't let this go'. One silly mistake in the distance and it became two mistakes. We were punished. So late in the game to lose the points which could have given us points to fight for the second place. I think we deserved more, at least a point for the first half. We dominated the first half. We created many chances and could have killed the game in the first half. Not lucky with shots. I hope whole India has new face of the national team. We have seen what we can do against a strong side like Oman. They showed quality and experience. They were little bit lucky. My guys gave everything. We didn't have many options. we knew we will have problems after 70 minutes with Ashique's condition, who came after a long injury. We knew Sandhesh will face problem with his injury. So we will lose shape in the balance. We could not take out five and put another five."
Oman coach Erwin Koeman: "India was very good in the first half I was disappointed with our level with many mistakes They deserved the win in that moment. But we were better in the second half, we had better possession. We got some big chances. We did substitutes because players were tired like the Indian players. We made two fantastic goals."
That is that... Two goals from Rabia Alawi Al Mandhar cancel outs Sunil Chhetri's first-half goal. Oman comeback from behind to beat India 2-1.
The fans though cheer for their team's effort.
FT: Despite leading for most of the match courtesy of @chetrisunil11's 24th-minute strike, a late brace by Al-Mandhar hands India a defeat in their opening match of the #WCQ.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 5, 2019
🇮🇳 1-2 🇴🇲#INDOMA ⚔ #BackTheBlue 💙 #IndianFootball ⚽ #BlueTigers 🐯 pic.twitter.com/JR0n4D6aUJ
82' - GOAL!! Rabia Alawi Al Mandhar with the perfect lob. Oman manage to get one back. A through ball to his feet finds Gurpreet rushing out of his goal to meet him. Al Mandhar just lifts over the keeper and we are all square in Guwahati.
78' - Manvir Singh comes on for Ashique Kuruniyan. What a game for the young man, especially after coming back from Injury. He can now go sit down and have a rest.
He is straight away involved in the play... as his flick almost finds Chhetri. The Oman keeper has to come out and clear with a Superman punch.
That's the end of the FIRST HALF!!
112th game for India and goal number 72. Sunil Chhetri ladies and gentlemen...
The Indian team have been on the front foot from the start and they lead at the break thanks to a goal from Chhetri in the 24th minute. Some good saves from Gurpreet as well in goal and the goalpost has saved Oman as well.
HT: A delightful @chetrisunil11 goal in the 24th-minute puts India ahead at the end of the first half.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 5, 2019
🇮🇳 1-0 🇴🇲#INDOMA ⚔ #BackTheBlue 💙 #IndianFootball ⚽ #BlueTigers 🐯 #WCQ 🌏🏆 pic.twitter.com/AmVTkfb5Fj
43' - Subhasish Bose gets a tackle wrong and Oman get a free-kick. The cross comes in and Rahul Bheke with header away.
They come again and from right. Ahmed Mubarak Al-Mahaijri jumps high but his header is straight at Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The Great Indian Wall stands tall and Oman are left frustrated.
24' - Oman's Abdulaziz Al Ghailani gets a yellow card. for his tackle on Ashique Kuruniyan.
Brandon Fernandes with free-kick from the just the outside the box on the left. Straight from the training ground, finds Chhetri making a delayed run into the 6-yard box. No one is marking him and he slots the ball into the back of the net.
Oman are shellshocked!
15' - Poor from the Oman keeper and Sunil Chhetri gets the ball in midfield and after a swerve away from the defender finds Udanta Singh with a through ball. He gets the ball stuck in his feet but fires in a shot that rattles the crossbar and does not go in. OH THE WOODWORK!!!
15' AGAINST THE WOODWORK! 😪@chetrisunil11 releases @UdantaK onto goal but the latter's shot 💥from a tight angle hits the bar and comes back into play.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 5, 2019
🇮🇳 0-0 🇴🇲#INDOMA ⚔ #BackTheBlue 💙 #IndianFootball ⚽ #BlueTigers 🐯 #WCQ 🌏🏆 pic.twitter.com/rCboFEZfIr
13' - Ashique Kuruniyan is brought down on the left side as he is sandwiched between two defenders.
Oman in the meanwhile have become more involved in the game. They are not doing much with the ball and the possession.
Anirudh Thapa wins the ball in midfield and tries to find Sunil Chhetri. The Oman goal-keeper comes out to clear his line though.
The fans in the stands are cheering and egging India attack.
9' SAVE! @GurpreetGK makes an easy save 🧤to deny Al-Aziz from inside the box. The lanky custodian palms a rasping shot straight into the air and then collects it easily.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 5, 2019
🇮🇳 0-0 🇴🇲#INDOMA ⚔ #BackTheBlue 💙 #IndianFootball ⚽ #BlueTigers 🐯 #WCQ 🌏🏆
4' - Ashique Kuruniyan makes a threatening run fro the left side but his centre does not find anybody. India are using a strong pressing game, not giving a second more to their opponents from Oman.
Udanta Singh gets up the field on the right side and he wins the first corner of the game.
The delivery from Anirudh Thapa was not ideal... does not even cross the first defender.
India take on Oman in their first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
India's previous World Cup qualifying campaign saw them coming up again Oman in 2015, when Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal for India in a 2-1 loss. (LIVE STREAMING)
Chhetri, who has scored 71 goals in 111 appearances for the Blue Tigers, stated that there is a "pulse of excitement" in the team with just one day to go for the crucial game.
"There is a great eagerness in the team and one really feels the pulse of excitement among the boys. We are really looking forward to the game. We had a great training camp and everyone in the team is fit and hungry. The players are gelling well and responding to what the coach expects from them," Sunil said.
Despite a majority of the players being young, the Chhetri said all are "well aware" of what is expected of them.
"It is a young team, but I don't have to talk to them once. Each player is well aware of what is expected of him and the coach speaks whatever is needed. I just have to be a good example for the players and will keep doing so whenever I am here," he said.
🗣 "I hope we get a jam-packed stadium in Guwahati!" 🏟😍@chetrisunil11 has a message for all #IndianFootball 🇮🇳⚽ fans ahead of #INDOMA ⚔ today! #WCQ 🌏🏆 #BackTheBlue 💙 #BlueTigers 🐯 pic.twitter.com/xEQnuYaxug
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 5, 2019
It will be new coach Igor Stimac's biggest test yet when India take on Oman in their first game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday.
Stimac is one of the most high-profile coaches to have taken charge of the Indian team having been part of Croatia's team that reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup.
But his start hasn't been impressive as he has looked to blood more youngsters and find his best combinations.
A third-place finish in the King's Cup in Thailand was followed by a poor display in the Intercontinental Cup at home.
India head coach Igor Stimac stated that his team is up ready and "well prepared" to meet the challenge.
"The preparations for the game went really well and as a coach, I am happy. This will be our third campaign and I am happy with the improvement in the team in terms of the understanding levels of the players and their fitness levels. We are well concentrated and well prepared," he said.
Stimac also acknowledged that Oman, along with Qatar, are the two strong favourites in the group.
"Realistically, Qatar and Oman are the favourites in our group. We have never won an official (World Cup qualifying) match against either of them. So it's not going to be easy at all. In Guwahati we are going to give everything on the pitch, aiming to win it," Stimac said.
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