Al Mandhar double strike gives Oman win over India: FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier, As it happened

Follow the LIVE score and updates of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier between India and Oman from the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.

Oman players celebrate the winning goal against India.   -  PTI

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier between India and Oman. This is Aashin Prasad and I will bring you the action from the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.

 

India skipper Sunil Chhteri: 'It is difficult to swallow (the defeat). I think we didn't keep the ball in 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 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 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 coach Igor Stimac: 'I was repeating at half time 'don't let this go'. One silly mistake in 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 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 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 first half  I was disappointed with our level with many mistakes They deserved the win in that moment. But we were better in 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. We played well in second half but my players, like the Indians, are not evolved enough for competition.'

But no real time for him to make an impact as the referee blows for final whistle. India falls to a 1-2 defeat to Oman. Gurpreet his crest fallen and is on his backside after a superb effort in the 80 minutes of the match. Crushing defeat for India, which looked like it might bag a huge win until crumbling in the end.

Last sub for India: Samad introduced for Subhasish Bose.

Three minutes of added time. India's defensive frailties once again coming to the fore. India has conceded six goals in the last four matches in the final 20 minutes of play.

90' PICK. THAT. OUT! Al Mandhar with a spectacular strike to put Oman in front! The attacker gets behind Bheke, cuts inside Jhingan before unleashing a curler into the top corner! Gurpeet had no chance for that shot.

Indian players looking really jaded at the moment with Oman's subs making a big impact!

86' Oman's Mohammed Mubarak misses a glorious opportunity on the break to put Oman ahead. He takes too much time on the ball allowing Jhingan to race across to cut out the shot with only Gurpreet to beat.

83' India gets a chance to equalise on the restart! Chhetri colletcs a long ball and lays it off to Manvir, who hits a first time cross across the face of the goal which Chhangte fails to get on the end of on the slide.

82'  Al Mandhar silences Guwahati! The substitute Jouhar Bilal does the trick as he picks out Al Mandhar's run, who races ahead of Bheke and chips the ball over the onrushing Gurpreet to level the scores. Chhetri shakes his head. Al Mandhar's first international goal and what a time to get it.

82' Udanta takes his time to line up a cross and overhits it with only Chhetri in the box. He immediately puts his hand up.

Last substitution for Oman: Mohsin Jouhar Bilal comes on for Harib Al-Saadi

79' Al-Rushaidi puts in a superman dive to punch the ball away from Chhetri, who was chasing down a long ball.

Change for India: Manvir Singh comes on for Ashique. He gets a big hug from Stimac. for the superb shift he put in.

76' Ashique asks too much even for Chhangte's pace to chase down an overhit pass.

74' SAVE! Mubarak Hamood receives the ball outside India's box, leaves Thapa for dead before taking a shot with his left foot. Gupreet makes another great save diving low to his right before Bheke clears the ball away from the lurking OMani strikers.

72' Chhangte with a good defensive work to not allow Oman's right-back from getting a cross into India's box.

Change for Oman: Salaah goes off for Mohammed Mubarak Hamood.

69' Shaky stuff at the back from India! Adil makes a real hash of a clearance. He takes two swipes before eventually clearing the ball off balance.

68' Sandesh Jhingan has gone into the book for booting the ball away. He will need to watch himself in the last 20 minutes or so.

67' Chhetri finds Chhangte, who races on to a through ball on the left side. The winger cuts in and takes a shot at goa which rolls into the hands of Al-Rushaidi.

66' Sixth corner for Oman which sails into the hands of Gurpreet.

Replay shows Ashique was stamped on by Al Ghailani earlier. Referee has clearly missed that.

India giving the ball away cheaply now. Tiredness creeping into their legs maybe. But Udanta puts in a clean tackle tracking after losing the ball inside Oman's half.

60' Change for India: Chhangte comes on for Brandon. That should be a change in formation and tactics for India. They will be looking to hit direct with more pace.

59' Rowllin picks up a yellow card for a slide tackle on Al-Musalami.

 

India looks to make a change..

56' Lucky escape for India as they are living dangerously. Oman were in a two on two position on the break but India is bailed out by an offside flag.

55' Another save from Gurpreet! Abdulaziz jumps and heads a ball in from the left on goal. Gurpreet with a diving save to the left side.

54' Nearly an own goal! A cross from Al-Yahyaei from the right side is cut out on the slide by Thapa but his clearance was heading towards goal. Gurpeeet was alert to it and punches it away for a corner.

52' Thapa does well to win th ball in midfield and Chhetri releases Udanta after picking up the loose ball. However, Udanta doesn't control the ball in his stride on the break.

50' Al Alawi afforded room to cut in from the left and take a shot from distance. Fortunately for India, the ball bounces comfortably into the hands of Gurpreet, who collects it low on his knees.

48' Oman has started on the front foot here. Rwo back-to-back corner kicks inside a minute. Nothing comes out of it for the away side.

47' Al-Musalami cuts out Chhetri's pass looking for Udanta on the break.

Erwin Koeman makes a change for Oman at the start of the half. Muhsen Al-Ghassani comes on for Raed.

SECOND HALF

Here is what a local fan told Anirudh earlier today: 'Why does everyone talk of his age? People don't die at 36, 36, 37. Watch him score a hat-trick tonight, I bet my house that he will." A hat-trick in the offing?

New NorthEast United manager Robert Jarni is in attendance along with his backroom staff.

The referee blows for the half time whistle! India goes into the break with a 1-0 lead hanging on in the last five minutes. India has thoroughly deserved the lead after a bright opening 25 minutes where it put Oman on the back foot. Stimac would have been pleased with that showing thus far.

A minute of added time.

43' SAVE! Brilliant save from Gurpeeet! Ahmed Kano's header after getting way from Jhingan and Bheke is saved point blank by the Indian shot-stopper with his right hand! The ball was looped into the air and Kano heads the ball wide on the follow up. Sandesh let his man wander ahead of him for that cross.

42' Bose fouls Raed right on the edge of the Indian box on the right byline.  Bheke clears the header way from India's box.

41' Jhingan fouls Abdulaziz near the center circle. A tad unnecessary that. Crucial five minutes coming up for both teams.

 

38' Bheke fouled on the right side by Al-Busaidi. It leads to a throw in to India near the right touchline inside Oman's half.

37' Thapa miscues a pass on the break and Oman can breath a sigh of relief. Chhetri wanted Thapa to run further forward with the ball there.

India's midfield of Thapa-Rowllin-Brandon have put in a superb shift thus far with Rowllin playing the role of the anchor. He has made some crucial interceptions playing in the No. 6 role while Brandon and Thapa have linked up well in the middle to create spaces and the find the passes in attack.

32' Oman looking to play through the line but the pass has been cut out.

30' Oman plays the ball out of play after a period of sustained possession.

28' India is still pressing high not letting Oman dictate terms. In the process, Oman is making mistakes while passing out from the back.

Brandon seems to be holding his back and goes off the pitch.. He is back on the pitch now.

24' GOAAAAL!! It's that man! It's that man, again! Sunil Chhetri puts India in the lead! Oman's defence fell asleep as India works a move out of the training ground.  Brandon plays the ball low across the face of the goal and Chhetri runs on to it, breaking away from the scrum of players, and sweeps the ball into the bottom corner! The place erupts with joy!

23' Ashique has Oman right back Al Ghailani on toast tonight. The defender sweeps Ashique's legs with a tackle and the referee gets his name into his notebook. Freekick for India.

21' India on the front foot! Ashique nutmegs the right back and fires in a cross into the box which is cut out by the center back ahead of Chhetri.

20' JHINGAN! He gets in front of his marker on the corner and heads it over the bar! Better corner kick from Thapa this time.

19' Al-Rushaidi with another error by coming off his line as Ashique gets to the ball and lofts a ball into the area which is headed away. Brandon gets on the rebound on the left ad fizzes in a dangerous cross into the box which requires a clearance for an Indian corner kick.

That should have been 1-0 to India...

15' How did he not score there!? Al-Rushaidi with a poor goal-kick and concedes possession to Brandon, who feeds it to Chhetri. Chhetri holds before releasing Udanta free on the right for a shot at goal. Udanta narrows his angle before thundering the cross-bar before the ball goes out of danger. 

We will most likely see India looking for that route through the match. 

12' Ashique with a superb tackle to win the ball and lays it off from Thapa, who plays a direct long ball for Chhetri to chase down. The 'keeper is off the line quickly to close the ball down and boot it away. The Blue Tigers paying homage to their former manager Constantine there...

11' Oman getting a better grip of the game, stringing together passes from the back and moving the ball comfortably.

9' SAVE! Al-Busaidi finds Abdulaziz with a chipped ball over the left side. Abdulaziz holds off Adil before taking a shot on the bounce, which stings the gloves of Gupreet. First real shot on goal of the match.

7' Al-Muqbali seemed to catch the head of Gurpreet when going for a cross inside India's box. Gurpreet, for the moment, looks okay to continue.

Ashique has been a livewire so far in the opening exchanges.

5' Ashique bursts trough on the left side after his marker slips on the turf. His cross is met on the right by Udanta, who looks to cut back into the box for an onrushing midfielder which is cleared away from danger.

4' Udanta wins a corner kick on the right. Thapa takes it but the delivery fails to clear the front man. Poor stuff from the Chennaiyin midfielder.

India looks to be playing a 4-3-3 in attack with the Bengaluru trio of Ashique-Chhetri-Udanta forming the front three.

The Oman players are greeted with loud boos as they take possession of the ball.

2' Good change of pace from Ashique on the left side before firing a cross in to the box which is cleared for a throw in.  India is piling the pressure on early on with som quick passes on the ball and high press when off the ball.

1' India kicks off from left to right.  Oman, known as The Reds, are in red kits. India in its traditional blue.

Naturally, the cameras are constantly panning on the Indian skipper Chhetri. Much of the focus and onus will be on that man tonight to lead his team from the front. A big roar goes out as India

FIRST HALF

September 05 | 19:25

We are just less than five minutes away from kick-off. The players are out and have lined-up for the national anthem.

September 05 | 19:16

Oman's coach Erwin Koeman had this to say ahead of the clash: 'They (India) have a good midfield and attacking wingers. Of course they have weaknesses as well. You like to win, it's difficult to tell how game will go.'

India coach Igor Stimac: 'Biggest enemy is inside us. Take it out and go and play. If we do as planned, we will be alright.'

September 05 | 19:00

If India can get a positive result tonight, it will give Stimac's men a big chance of progressing from this group into the next round.

Here is the qualification scenario from second round

  • 4.5 slots available for AFC confederation sides.
  • 8 winners of the eight groups and 4 best-placed second ranked sides qualify into the third round of qualifiers.

India's Group E has the host Qatar in it which could prove to be blessing in disguise. If India manages to finish third in the group behind Qatar, then it can reach the third round qualifiers as one of the 4 best runner-ups.

September 05 | 18:45

No Sahal in XI: A rather safety first approach with his starting XI from Stimac in his first competitive game. It appears to be a 4-2-3-1 formation with Rowllin Borges. formerly of this parish, sitting in the midfield pivot alongside Anirudh Thapa. Brandon Fernandes, who plays off the left side for club side FC Goa has played through the middle for Stimac in the King's Cup.  It remains to be seen if Brandon plays behind Chhetri or new Bengaluru FC boy Ashique Kuruniyan slots in the No 10 role.

September 05 | 18:31

India's starting XI: Gurpreet (1); Bheke (2), Subhasish (3), Jhingan (5), Adil (6); Rowllin (17), Thapa (7), Brandon(10), Udanta (15), Ashique (18), Chhetri (11)

Oman's starting XI: Faiz Al-Rushaidi (18); Mohammed Al-Musalami (2), Ali Al-Busaidi (17), Saad Al-Mukhaini (11), Abdulaziz Al Ghailani (21); Salaah Al-Yahyaei (20), Al Mandhar Al Alawi (15), Ahmed Mubarak Al-Mahaijri (12), Raed Ibrahim Saleh (6), Harib Al-Saadi (23), Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali (9)

September 05 | 18:27

The Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri is ready. Here are his thoughts ahead of the qualifier.

September 05 | 18:16

 

September 05 | 18:06

 

September 05 | 17:51

Anirudh shares us this image of the Indian players inspecting the pitch with a little over an hour and a half to kick-off. He also adds that 'pitch looks superb'.

 

India's 27-member squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith.

DEFENDERS: Rahul Bheke, Nishu Kumar, Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Narender Gahlot, Sarthak Golui, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.

MIDFIELDERS: Nikhil Poojary, Udanta Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Rowllin Borges, Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.

FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.

 

Our reporter Anirudh Velamuri is in Guwahati for India's opening match and here is his preview.

India gets its FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualification underway when it hosts Oman at the Indira Gandhi stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.

It will be Igor Stimac's first competitive game since taking charge of the Blue Tigers. Since he came in, the Croatian has gone about making wholesale changes to the team – from personnel to playing style.

His predecessor Stephen Constantine's direct football has been replaced by a possession-based, controlled game with an emphasis on building from the back. Those changes have had several players talking positively about what the Croatian has been trying to implement, and captain Sunil Chhetri stressed on it in his pre-match press conference.

READ | Fearless approach necessary to beat Oman, says goalkeeper Gurpreet

"It has been a great (pre-World Cup) training camp minus the Amarjit (Singh Kiyam) debacle. The players have a lot of time to gel, to understand the new techniques and the boys are optimistic about the game," he said.

While there has been positive talk about everything Stimac has brought in, the results, however, haven't gone his way. India played five games across two friendly tournaments, the King's Cup in Thailand and the Intercontinental Cup at home. It won only once, losing three games before drawing one – scoring seven goals but conceding thirteen.

India conceded 13 goals in five matches since Stimac took over, including 10 in three matches in the Intercontinental Cup.   -  Twitetr @IndianFootball

 

Stimac, though, isn't concerned about those results. "These two tournaments were organised before I was appointed, I would have done something different if it was up to me," he said, adding, "I did not like losing days for games rather than training, to be honest."

Defence a worry for India

Using 29 players across the five games, with as many as 30 changes to the starting line-up, was one big reason for India's porous defence. But beginning with the game against Oman on Thursday, there should be a more settled side on the pitch as Stimac has decided on what his best team is.

"The players are very clear about starting eleven for tomorrow's game. They have known for the last seven days," he said. "The rest are there, ready and fit. Each one who is participating (in the training camp) is ready. And we will follow their performances and form in the ISL (Indian Super League) and that will be base for sending invitations for future call-ups."

Like India, Oman also changed its coach since the Asian Cup. Dutchman Erwin Koeman has taken over the reins and he also hasn't had enough time to impart his ideas.

Unlike the host though, the visitor is on a three-game winning run. In Koeman's first assignment, Oman won the Airmarine Cup in Malaysia, a four-team friendly tournament, with a 5-0 trashing of Afghanistan and a penalty shootout win against Singapore. The third match was a 1-0 win against Yemen in a friendly.

India lost 1-2 to Oman in the 2015 World Cup qualifier in Bengaluru. PHOTO: K. Murali Kumar

 

READ | Stimac: Qatar and Oman favourites, but India ready for the challenge

India lost to Oman, home and away, at the same stage fours year ago. Three points tomorrow will be very vital, both in terms of qualification and in boosting the team's confidence ahead of a daunting away game against Qatar on September 10, and Chhetri knows it.

"I really hope the team has come a long [way] since our last meeting," he said, talking about the 1-2 defeat in Bengaluru in 2015. "One part of me feels that we can do it (win and progress to the next round) and we do have a great team. But of course the other teams are stronger and we can't make predictions. I just hope that when you compare (Thursday's game with the 1-2 defeat), it will be done in a happy way."