Although Oman left it late to sweep the tie against the Blue Tigers in Guwahati during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September this year, Sunil Chhetri dismissed talks about India gunning for a revenge when they challenge the Gulf Nation at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday, November 19.
“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.
“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 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but Pritam Kotal felt everyone should be dealt with equally 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 to dent India’s dream. These two countries have played eight matches against each other until now and Oman were 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.”
The match is scheduled to kick-off at 8:30pm IST (7pm local time) and it’ll be telecast live on Star Sports network and streamed live on Hotstar, Jio TV.