India v Oman Match Report, 05/09/2019

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S. Chhetri (24)
Rabia Alawi Al Mandhar (82)
Rabia Alawi Al Mandhar (90)
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Al Mandhar's late brace helps Oman shock India
18:58 EAT 05/09/2019
India Oman WCQ
India scored first but let Oman back into the game after the break...

A late brace scored by Al Mandhar helped Oman set up a 2-1 comeback win against India on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. 

India had Oman in check for most parts of the game but a lacklustre final 10 minutes turned the tables in favour of Oman. Brandon Fernandes' clever free-kick in the 24th minute set up an unmarked Sunil Chhetri inside the box whose neat strike gave India the lead. However, Al Mandhar got the better of the Indian defence twice late in the second half and set up a win for the away side. 

Igor Stimac decided to use the Bengaluru FC trio up front with Sunil Chhetri leading the attack. Ashique Kuruniyan and Udanta Singh were deployed on the wings while Brandon Fernandes started as the number 10.

India were off to a flying start and they looked hungry for goals right from the word go. Udanta Singh was very close to breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute. The chance befell India after Oman custodian Faiyz Al Rusheidi kicked the ball straight to Anirudh Thapa who found Chhetri outside the box. The skipper fed Udanta to his right but the Bengaluru winger's shot from a tight angle struck the woodwork. 

The hosts increased the intensity of their attacks as the game progressed and their aggressive mentality paid off soon as skipper Chhetri put India in front.

Ashique Kuruniyan was brought down on the left edge of the penalty box and Brandon rolled the resulting free-kick towards an unmarked Chhetri who found the back of the net.

Oman skipper Ahmed Mubarak was close to scoring the equaliser in the 43rd minute but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu came to the host’s rescue. A cross from Saad AlMukhaini was almost headed in by Mubarak but the Indian custodian stopped it from going in.

After an excellent first half which saw Thapa create numerous chances down the middle, the Chennaiyin midfielder could have easily turned villain as he almost scored an own goal. Salaah Al Yahyaei sent a cross from the right flank and the youngster nearly put the ball into his own net while trying to clear and ended up sending it to the stands. 

As the match passed the hour mark India started to move into a defensive shell as Oman attacked in numbers. Igor Stimac’s team dropped deeper, inviting pressure. 

Oman equalised in the 82nd minute as Al Mandhar Al Alawi found the back of the net. He followed a long ball and received it inside the box after cutting in diagonally from the left. He then flicked the ball past Gurpreet Sandhu to kick-start a comeback.

Al Mandhar completed a brace and made sure Oman picked up full points from the away match in the 90th minute. The winger received the ball and entered the box from the left, dribbled past Sandesh Jhingan and found the back of the net with curling shot into the top right corner of the net.