It was heartbreak for the Indian national football team as they conceded two late goals to lose 1-2 to Oman in their opening joint 2022 FIFA World Cup/2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifying match in Guwahati on Thursday night.
The ingredients were all there for an upset and successful start to the qualifiers but after a strong first half, India just couldn’t keep it together against an improved Oman and ran out of steam.
Igor Stimac’s boys played with confidence and conviction in the first half, had their chances to score but again we had to depend on captain Sunil Chhetri to get the crucial lead. It was a brilliant set piece goal with a class placed finish.
But after the break Oman came out a different side and India somehow could not defend their slim 1-0 lead as their conceded goals in the 82nd and 90th minutes through Al-Mandhar Al Alawi.
Also the substitutions didn’t work for Stimac and his team as the team looked tired after around 70 minutes with the constant pressure showing towards the end as the midfield and attack failed to create enough chances for the defence to breath once in a while.
The opportunity was in the end lost to start the campaign successfully and keep the option open to finish second in the group and dream a little longer to stay in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Now it’s onto Doha and Qatar on Tuesday, September 10. A new game against an even better side…