An inspired first half performance saw Oman beat India 2-1 in the first qualifying match for the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Oman, at the 101st place in the latest FIFA rankings, started the match brightly, with Qasim Said scoring in the very first minute of the match, catching Subrata Paul napping as he nutmegged the Indian ‘keeper.
After that, it was all Oman, with the visitors throwing everything at the Indian defence, forcing Subrata to pull-off one magnificent save after the other.
However, the tide turned India’s way after Sunio Chettri scored with a sublime left-footed shot from the edge of the box, with the ball curling into the top-corner to bring the scores level. But the hosts were unable to hold on to the advantage after Dhanachandra fouled an Oman player in the box, with Al Hosni scoring from the spot just before the break.
In the second half, India pressed to equalise but the visitors sat back and soaked the pressure. Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi had little to do. There was controversy at the end as India found the back of the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
At full time, the hosts, though showing plenty of promise, were unable to cope with Oman’s quality on the field.
India will travel to Hagatna for its next qualifier against Guam on June 16.