Late Oman comeback sinks India

Guwahati: Oman made a late comeback to snatch 2-1 win over India, in the opening Group E match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Thursday.

The Blue Tigers’ talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring, but Oman made their comeback in the last 10 minutes, when Al-Mandhar Al Alawi struck a brace to win the match for the away side.

India got the early start that they were looking for, with Ashique Kuruniyan running his legs off in the attacking midfield position.

The Blue Tigers had their first real chance around the quarter-hour mark, when Thapa intercepted a ball in the middle of the park, played it to Chhetri, who put Udanta through. The winger jinked past an Oman defender and rattled the cross-bar.

Soon after, Ashique was played into the box has he took the ball away from the rushing keeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi. However, 22-year-old was in too tight an angle to score.

The early pressure by the Blue Tigers soon paid the dividends, as Ashique was brought down on the left flank by Abdulaziz Al Gheilani, who went into the books for the mis-timed tackle.

On the hour-mark, Stimac decided to add some pace to the wings, as he brought on Lallianzuala Chhangte in place of Brandon Fernandes. Oman left it late, but they came back in the last 10 minutes, when Al-Mandhar Al Alawi scored two to win it for Oman.

For their first goal, Al-Mandhar was played into the India box via a lofted through ball, as the attacker dinked it over Gurpreet to equalise. The 24-year-old struck the winner on last minute of regulation time, as he cut in from the left and rifled his shot into the back of the net.

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