India vs Oman: Revenge not on our minds, says Chhetri

Oman scored late against India in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Guwahati to deny the Blue Tigers their first win over the Gulf Nation.

Chhetri reacts after India's late defeat to Oman.   -  RITU RAJ KONWAR

Although Oman left it late to sweep the tie against India in Guwahati during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers in September, Sunil Chhetri dismissed talks about India gunning for a revenge when it challenges the Gulf Nation at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on Tuesday.

“We won’t think about revenge or anything closer to that, absolutely not. At the end of the day, the points matter. It’s not a derby as they are not our neighbours," Chhetri stated on the sidelines of the first training session in Muscat.

PREVIEW | Chhetri and Co. face Oman in do-or-die match

“These are the qualifiers and we have only one thing in our mind i.e., to go out and give everything that we have and take the result. I mean the important point is to go and play well, especially in the away matches.”

Oman striker Al Mandhar has already scored four goals in four matches during the qualifiers. To put the numbers into perspective, India has scored just three goals. Defender Pritam Kotal felt everyone should be dealt with equally for the side to come out with a favourable result.

"It's not only Al Mandhar, other attackers like Al Alwai, Al Ghassani everyone can impose equal danger to a defence line. They are quick, they switch positions fast and can score from long. We have to be extra cautious of their long-range shots,” Kotal opined.

In the first leg, Chhetri scored India's only goal which could have earned the Blue Tigers their first win against the Gulf Nation but Al Mandhar scored back-to-back goals in the last in the last 10 minutes to dent India's dream. These two countries have played eight matches against each other until now and Oman was on the winning side six times whereas the other two matches ended in a draw.

On being asked whether these stats will put India under pressure before they hit the ground, Adil Khan felt otherwise.

"Yes, numbers say that they (Oman) are favourites but it all will start from scratch tomorrow. Their attackers can do anything on a given day and we have to be on our toes throughout," Adil stressed.

Custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu picked that staying unbeaten on the road is the priority now and Oman is going to be a difficult opponent to play against.

“Not losing a game away from home is our priority right now. It’s always difficult playing away from home and we recognise the threats (from Oman) given their ability and strength. We have to make sure we deal with them well.”

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