A new-look India, with six debutants in the starting line-up, fought back to hold higher-ranked Oman to a draw in an international friendly on Thursday at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
Oman went ahead in the first half after Chinglensana deflected a cross into his own net but India drew level through Manvir Singh's header in the second half.
Igor Stimac started with a 4-3-3 setup with Amrinder Singh in goal, Chinglensana Singh and Sandesh Jhingan as the two centre backs, and Ashutosh Mehta and Akash Mishra operating on the sides. Rowllin Borges, Jeakson Singh, and Suresh Singh Wangjam manned the midfield while Bipin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan and Manvir Singh played as the front three.
The Blue Tigers got off to a slow start with Oman dominating possession and dictating the play and they got their first chance as early as the fourth minute. As the match progressed, they controlled the proceedings.
Under pressure, the Indians started committing silly fouls and soon, Oman were awarded a penalty after Rowllin brought down their forward inside the 18-yard box. However, Amrinder stepped up, guessed the right direction and stopped what was a really tame effort for a penalty kick.
Nonetheless, Oman went ahead in the match towards the closing stages of the first half when Amrinder misjudged a grounded cross and fumbled to collect. Chinglensana, who was diving in to stop the ball, suddenly found himself in an awkward position and could really do nothing but put it into his own net.
Stimac made two changes at the start of the second half bringing on Indian Super League's (ISL) Emerging Player of the year Apuia and Raynier Fernandes. Apuia's introduction seemed to change the game as the youngster's aggression disrupted Oman's midfield play.
10 minutes into the second 45, and India found a way back through Manvir. Ashutosh found Bipin on the right flank who delivered a delicate cross into the box. Manvir, the ATK Mohun Bagan forward who had scored a couple of brilliant solo goals in the recently concluded ISL, made a good movement inside the box and met the ball with his head to slot it home.
Stimac's men then held on, thwarting Oman's attacking forays as Jhingan and Chinglensana held their own.