India drew 1-1 against Oman after returning to action after nearly 500 days. A second half headed equalizer from Manvir Singh earned the Indian football team a well deserved draw against Oman who are ranked 23 places ahead of the Indians.
Igor Stimac laid out a youthful team against Oman with as many as 10 players making their international debut in this match. The exuberance of the youth was visible in the Indian ranks from the start as they outran Oman throughout the match (albeit mostly defending).
Amrinder Singh saved a penalty in the first to keep the scores 0-0 for India
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.
India 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.
Oman captain Abdulaziz Maqbali was adjudged to have been brought down inside the Indian penalty area, as the referee pointed to the spot in the 26th minute. Abdulaziz stepped up to take the spot kick, but India custodian Amrinder Singh dived to his right to make a fine save and keep India on level terms.
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.
Oman again started the 2nd half as the better team but were unable to make their dominance count against a resolute Indian defence. The Indians found a way back into the game when Ashutosh Mehta made an interception in the opposition half and played Bipin into the box. The latter lobbed in a cross aimed at Manvir Singh, who came up with a perfect header, nodding the ball into the ground and past the keeper, putting India on level terms.
India looked more confident after drawing level as Stimac made a number of changes in the second half to blood in more youngster on the pitch. India’s next international friendly is against UAE on 29th March and the Blue Tigers will hope for a win next time out.
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