The Indian national football team remained winless in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers second round as they succumbed to yet another defeat against Oman at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Tajikistan.on Tuesday evening.
Igor Stimac made three changes to the side that drew Afghanistan last week with Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary and Nishu Kumar coming in for Pritam Kotal, Mandar Rao Desai and Sahal Abdul Samad. Ahead of the match, captain Sunil Chhetri had stressed they were not thinking of revenge after losing the home leg against their oppositions. “We won’t think about revenge or anything closer to that, absolutely not. At the end of the day, the points matter,” he had said.
However, it was Oman who started on the front foot and posed danger early on through a set-piece. Within six minutes, they were awarded for their efforts as the referee pointed to the spot after Rahul Bheke brought down Muhsen inside the box. It looked like a soft decision, but Bheke had tripped his man.
Oman, on their part, missed the chance to go 1-0 up — for then — as Muhsen, the man who won the penalty, fired it way over the cross-bar. It was only in the 16th minute when India finally managed to get the ball out of their half through Farukh's through-ball but Al-Habsi intercepted it comfortably.
In the 33rd minute, Oman finally took the lead as Muhsen made up for his penalty miss by finding the net. He ran on to meet Al Khaldi's defence-splitting through-ball and before slotting it into the bottom corner. The forward looked like he was a little offside but it was not given and the goal stood.
Even Sandesh Jhingan, who is out nursing a ligament tear, took to Twitter to point out that the goal should have been ruled offside.
India had a mountain to climb in the second half, scoring twice and taking a lead seemed improbable in front of a vociferous home crowd. However, Chhetri and his men came out stronger in the second half and tried to take something from the match. Oman, as well, tried to increase their lead but at the end of it all, they won by the narrowest of margins.