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2021 International Friendly
  • Manvir Singh (55')
  • Chinglensana Singh (43' OG)

Manvir Singh helps India come back to hold Oman to a draw

Manvir Singh (R) celebrates after scoring India's equaliser vs Oman. AIFF

Manvir Singhs 55th minute goal helped India come back from behind and hold Oman to a 1-1 draw in a friendly in Dubai on Thursday.

In their first international match in more than a year, India conceded a goal in the 42nd minute with Chinglensana Singh's clearance crossing the goal-line after hitting goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who started ahead of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

India were without captain Sunil Chhetri, and head coach Igor Stimac gave debuts to 10 players against Oman. Akash Mishra, Ashutosh Mehta, Chinglensana Singh, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Bipin Singh and Jeakson Singh all started the game, while Lalengmawia Ralte, Yasir Mohammad, Ishan Pandita and Mashoor Shareef came on as substitutes

Oman, who had won both legs of the 2022 World Cup qualifying games against India, dominated the first half, with India not getting a single shot on target. They played a high defensive line, while India defended deep. The early pressure soon paid off when Rowlin Borges committed a foul on Abdul Aziz Al Gheilani inside the box to concede a penalty. However, Aziz's effort from the spot was weak, and Amrinder Singh made an easy save diving to his right.

Oman finally broke the deadlock before half-time, when Al Aghbari got the ball on the left wing and sent a low cross toward the face of the goal. Amrinder could not collect the ball cleanly and it hit Chinglensana Singh before going past the goal-line.

Stimac made two changes at half-time, with Lalengmawia and Raynier Fernandes replacing Jeakson Singh and Rowllin Borges.

India were much improved in the second half, holding the ball better and playing a more attacking game. They soon found a deserved equaliser, when Bipin Singh sent in a brilliant cross from the right flank, which was headed home by Manvir.

Oman, ranked 81st, as compared to India's 104th, pressed hard for the winning goal, but Amrinder made two fine saves in the 63rd and 65th minutes to deny them.

"One good thing was the result in the end. The whole team reacted really well in the second half. They did their best and tried everything. We had some good transitions, which is something I was looking for. In the end, I have to say I am happy because we had 10 debutants today - some with many minutes on the pitch and some with only few. But, they all did their part in getting our first point from Oman in three games," Stimac said after the game.

India play their second international friendly against the UAE in Dubai on Monday. The friendlies are a part of the preparation for the joint qualifying round matches of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup to be played in June.