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Highlights | Oman Beat India 1-0 in FIFA World Cup Qualifier

The first half goal from Muhsen Al-Ghassani proved the difference as Oman football team beat Indian football team in their FIFA World Cup qualifier match in Muscat. Get highlights and analysis of the Oman vs India FIFA World Cup qualifier match below.
Oman vs India FIFA World Cup qualifier highlights and analysis

Indian football team’s Ashique Kuruniyan vies for the ball with Saad Al Mukhaini of Oman during their FIFA World Cup qualifier match in Muscat. Get highlights and analysis of the Oman vs India FIFA World Cup qualifier match below.

Oman beat Indian football team 1-0 through a strike from Muhsen Al-Ghassani in their FIFA World Cup qualifier match at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on November 19. Al-Ghassani finished from a brilliant through pass from the dangerous Al Mandhar as Oman went into the half time break with a 1-0 lead. Things could have been much worse for India had Al-Ghassani converted from the spot earlier in the match. Igor Stimac has more things to worry though thanks to two forced substitutions -- injury ending Adil Khan and Pronay Halder´s outing. Sunil Chhetri was invisible right though the first half with no one to provide balls to the talismanic striker. India did came back stronger in the second half but was unable to break open the Omani defense and score. (Get highlights and analysis of the Oman vs India FIFA World Cup qualifier match below).

Five Talking Points at Full Time

1. When Chhetri is not involved in the game, despite being on the pitch for the full 90, it’s clear that something is not right. Whether it was the formation, the movement or Oman’s defence, India’s most potent threat was nullified both as goal-getter as well as linkman/creator. 

2. There are glimpses of India being able to change the plan. In the second half today they played longer balls, out to the wings, and pressed higher. Though there was no real impact, at least the change of plans put some pressure on the home side and forced them to give away possession in their defensive third, on occasion. However, pumping the ball up and hoping for the best is never going to be enough. 

3. Ashique Kuruniyan was India’s standout player today. Both club and country need to do as much as possible to look after him physically and help him grow into the game. Not only did he and Farukh do well defensively on India’s left flank, but they also provided come decent attacking attempts in the second half. 

4. If we are really building a team for the 2026 World Cup, we need not bother trying. But if the focus is on the 2023 Asian Cup, younger players need to start more games and see more games through. This is a dare to Stimac to leave Chhetri on the bench for the next fixture. 

5. Injuries. Clearly playing fewer games, and a short domestic season, is not helping. India have a bank of about 35 players who make turn out for the senior squad. The think tank needs to work out how to keep these guys fit. If Chhetri, at 35 or so the oldest in the squad, it is entirely possible younger players can do the same.   

Highlights of the match below:

Live blog

Freekick for India

19’ Oman have a corner. They play it short, but Adil and Brandon combine to clear it away. India launch a counter. Udanta gathers and sprints, and is brought down 30 yards from the Oman goal. No card for the Oman defender, but India have a freekick from a somewhat central position Brandon will smack his lips at. He’s lining it up…..

Brandon Tries a Variation

20’ Brandon doesn’t go for a shot and instead plays it to the far post where Udanta tries to square it across goal. It is tame and easily gathered by Ali Al Habsi.

Nishu-Udanta combo on the Right

23’ Apologies, the ball Brandon fed was to Chhetri not Udanta. In latest news, Nishu combines with Udanta down the right, whose cross is covered and cleared and India have a corner. Nothing comes off it.

Udanta Bashing

India’s best move so far but goes waste courtesy bad decision on the final ball by Udanta. Where have we heard that before?

-- Arjun Pandit

Unnecessary Pronay Foul

24’ Off the Oman counter, Pronay brings Al Mandhar down. Adil gets the card though. Not sure why.

Yellow for Pronay, Chance for Oman

25’ Pronay gets his card. This time he brings down an attacker to the right of India’s goal, 30 yards from goal. Oman have a freekick. India have a two man wall. Al Khaldi plays it to the far post, the defenders slept off, but Oman’s four man attacking force confuses themselves but earn a corner. That was a chance. 

Rai in for Pronay

27’ India are making their first substitution. Not sure if this is tactical or forced. Pronay comes off and Vinit Rai comes on. He’s sporting a nice Movember moustache. It is gentle, barely detectable but does the job. Essentially what his role will be today on the pitch.

Observations from the First 30’ 

India have played a whole different setup today. Stimac has brought on all his A-team of attackers perhaps taking into account the criticism he has received for not taking the game to both Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The best of those attacking options is at left-back (Ashique). Of course, this has something to do with the players that are available. It also seems in keeping with the overarching tactical philosophy that Stimac seems to employ: lines them up and hope for the best. 

In response, Oman are playing a pretty similar shape to the last game between the two. But there is a lot more purpose to the game. Also, they seem to have decided to player fewer long balls into the corners and are, instead, playing more Dutch-style. First touch passes, quick movement and players on the overlap.

Well Done, Adil and Bheke

32’ Vinit loses a ball cheaply, and Al-Ghassani is played through… except he is offside by a few yards. Well done to Adil and Bheke for keeping the line.

Oman Take 1-0 Lead

33’ Oman score. Al-Mandhar opens up India’s defence with a ball that Iniesta would be proud of. Off, what a pass that was to Al-Ghassani who finishes into the bottom left corner with a first-time shot. India’s defence were opened up there by a piece of genius.

Anas Replaces Injured Adil

35’ Al-Mandhar won the ball there after a sloppy tackle by VInit Rai, who has had a horrible five minutes. And now India’s problems compound. Adil has gone down clutching his hamstring. And the medics bring him off. He walks off the field, replaced by Anas Edathodika.

Stimac Era Woes

37’ Stimac is gesturing wildly towards his defence from the sidelines. If this continues then his nine matches in charge will have yielded one win. Against Thailand at the King’s Cup. Sounds abject doesn’t it?

Farukh-Udanta Counter

40’ Oooooolala. Farukh wins the ball in India’s half, sprints and lays it to Udanta on the left who produces some deft footwork and plays the ball back to Farukh in the box.  He draws a few defenders towards him, but fails to notice Chhetri at the top of the box open and free. And Oman clear. The half chance is gone.

Manvir Makes Rare Appearance

44’ Manvir wins a header at the top of the box, but it lands at the feet of an opposition defender. Incidentally, that's the first time Manvir has come up on this love blog, perhaps fittingly explaining what he’s been doing this half.

Oman Miss Chance

45’ Al-Mandhar almost sets Al-Ghassani up for another, crossing from the left, after turning Bheke around. But the chance is missed. India breathe. When will halftime arrive?

Five Talking Points for India at Half Time (OMA 1-0 IND)


  1. Twice, India have looked good taking the ball into the opposition third. Both times Udanta has been pivotal to the movement. If India can get the ball through midfield, in numbers, there might be a goal in this. 

  2. The trouble with changing formations and playing dudes in unfamiliar positions--particularly against well-oiled opponents--is that positional awareness and movement goes out the window. For example, India has the ball in the Oman box with Manvir Singh. He had Chhetri, relatively unmaked, coming in behind his right shoulder. But he had not spotted the movement off the ball and, therefore, didn’t realise there was an opening. No alternative here than to play, play and play some more. 

  3. Gurpreet has had very little to do in goal despite some questionable marking by the central defenders. When we see the replay we will know if he could have anticipated the through ball down the middle that led to the goal and figure if he could have could have moved off the line better. 

  4. India have a squad of 23. But there are far fewer playable options who can get the job done on the defensive side of the tracks. The two injuries have further complicated the situation and left the away side more vulnerable. 

  5. The intense conversation between Chhetri and Stimac on the touchline, when Adil was coming off, looked interesting. If there are any journalists at the post-match presser, I hope they ask what was discussed. Chhetri looked less than pleased during the exchange, or had a ton of inputs at the very least. Hopefully the coach can comprehend.  

    -- Siddhanth Aney

Halftime Joke (or Not)

Knock knock.

Who’s there?


ISL who?

ISL at advertising.

Back in Action

And we have kicked off again for the second half. Apologies for the delay in commentary. We suffered from nutrient absorption and needed a break to reload.

Oman Holding the Ball

50’ Oman are quite happy holding possession and playing it side to side. India are chasing and will do most of the work this half. Vinit Rai, for one. Has a big half in front of him. His part in Oman’s goal will be part of the inquest.

Ashique Takes it on Chest

53’ Ashique has taken a hit to the chest and gone down. Nothing too serious. He’s just had the wind knocked out of him.

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