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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: IM Vijayan - A lost opportunity for India against Oman

15:07 GMT+4 06/09/2019
Ashique Kuruniyan India Oman WCQ
IM Vijayan feels India should have won against Oman and that Qatar will be a difficult challenge...

Former India striker IM Vijayan feels the national team's World Cup qualifier against Oman was a lost opportunity to bag three points and get the campaign off to a winning start. 

On Thursday, the two Group E fixtures in the second round of the join qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup saw two completely different outcomes. In Guwahati, India hosted Oman and despite taking a first-half lead, Igor Stimac's team succumbed to a late brace by Al Mandhar.

Speaking of India's performance, Vijayan expressed his disappointment with the result and criticised the changes made in the second half. 

"I am disappointed because it was a good opportunity for India. The changes were bad, after playing so well. They became the ones attacking and India became defensive, unlike the first half. 

"Ashique (Kuruniyan) should not have been replaced, he was playing very well. And Sahal (Abdul Samad) should have come on earlier. Sahal is a player who can hold onto the ball and use it well. These two mistakes affected our game."

At Qatar's Al-Sadd Stadium, the 2019 Asian Cup champions put on a splendid show to open their account, thrashing Afghanistan 6-0. Striker Almoez Ali grabbed a hat-trick in the game. 

"The game against Qatar will be very difficult. We stood a chance to qualify if we had won against Oman. Qatar will be a very tough team," Vijayan said. 

The Blue Tigers looked lethargic towards the end of the game and Vijayan believes this is an after-effect of playing such a big game after a long pre-season. 

"India played very well in the first half, showcased a high standard of football. We were tired in the second half but we cannot blame the coach for that. They just came back from pre-season and haven't had the time to undergo a lot of fitness training. That aspect will improve."

India will face Qatar away from home in the second game of Group E on September 10.