Lack of international experience and an unorganised squad dented India’s chance in first joint pre world cup qualifier of 2018 against Paul le Guen’s Oman. But, a controversial decision from referee Hyung Jin ko denied India from a draw.
In the second round of pre-world cup qualifier in Kanteerava stadium in Bnagaluru exhausted India conceded a 1-2 loss to Oman.
India coach Stephen Constantine decided to start with 4-3-3 formation with four players who have not previous international experience in crucial match of pre-world cup qualifier match against much higher ranked Oman. Indian team looked unorganised and exhausted in second half to a much better Oman team.
In the first half of the Kanteerava stadium in Bangaluru spectators observed India went 1-2 down to visiting Oman. As the match kicked-off within 30 seconds, before getting everybody settled; Oman striker Qasim Said found the net beating Subrata Paul. It was a mistake from center back Arnab Mondal. After conceding the early goal India tried to create pressure on Oman’s half, balls start coming from both left and right flank as CK Vneeth on left and Jackichand Singh were constantly providing cross in the penalty area of Oman’s half. But, using the height Oman defense led by Al-Busaidi and Ahmed Al Mukhaini denied Indian forward Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh.
India had to wait for a real chance for 26 minutes when Omanis defender failed to clear a ball from the danger zone, Sunil grabbed the ball and sent a stunner left footer for the equliser. Former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Al Habsi was beaten by Sunil. In between captain Arnab Mondal headed the wide off the bar from Lyngdoh corner.
However, India’s equaliser did not last long as a bad defending in the D-box cost a penalty. In the attacking front four Al Hosini, Qasim Said, Al Muqbali were constantly rattling the Indian defense as ball had kept coming from the fluent midfield led by experienced Ahmed Mubarak “Kano”. As a result on 39th minute Al Hosni put Oman in a 2-1 lead from the penalty. Instead of clearing the ball defender Dhanachandra Singh made a wicked tackle which cost a penalty. Al Hosni’s first attempt was cancelled, referee asked him to retake the penalty, he kept the thing simple by putting the ball left of Subrata Paul who dived on the wrong side.
If Subrata paul was not wary India may have conceded more goal in the first half as Al Miqbali and Al Hosni was constantly compressing from left and right side, which make Indian defense to crawl.
Second half was marred by foul and unimaginative play from both sides. India committed 13 foul.
Except Al Farsi’s left footer goes over the bar Oman had opted to squander the time while India opted for physical play. At one moment in the second half India’s defense had a lapse in concentration creating space for Al Farsi left footer that crossed over the bar.
Midway through the game India looked exhausted, struggling to cover the gap between counter attack and defesne. However, Oman falied to score any goal in the second half.
There was drama in the 67 minute of the second half as India was denied from the equaliser. Robin Singh’s goal disallowed courtesy offside flag. However, the replays showed it was an own goal and Robin most probably did not touch the ball. Referee and his two linesman had a poor game, think it is suffice to say that.
In the second half Oman put seven shot on target whereas India only one.
Paul once again saved India. Sunil grounded by Oman defenders but referee Hyung Jin ko was in no mood to give penalty.
In the other group D match Guam beat Turkemenistan 1-0 to record their first ever pre world cup qualifying victory. So India will be facing another tough task in Guam on June 16.