Relentless Oman hand India fifth straight loss

Oman produced a potent second half display to crush India 3-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on Tuesday, 13th October 2015.

Stephen Constantine made four changes to the team that lost against Turkmenistan as Rino Anto slotted in for injured Pritam Kotal at right back, while Cavin Lobo replaced the suspended Eugenson Lyngdoh. Rowlin Borges and Bikas Jairu came in for Sehnaj Singh and Robin Singh who were dropped by the Englishman.

India did well in the opening twenty minutes to stay on level terms and managed to stifle Oman. Jeje was picked out by a long ball from midfield but was flagged for offside in the 20th minute. It was a close call from the linesman.

India had a slice of luck in the 25th minute when Oman’s No.5 headed a croner onto the upright. India were struggling to cope with Oman’s physicality on set pieces and the hosts should have made their dominance on set plays count in the 27th minute when an Oman player headed wide.

Oman who were lacking a cutting edge in open play were mostly resorting to shots from long range but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu earned his bread as he made some good saves to deny the Omanese with the pick of it coming from No.8’s effort in the 40th minute.

Jeje and Sunil Chhetri combined well in the final minute of the half as some good hold up play from the former set Sunil Chhetri in some space ahead of the defence. Chhetri had India’s first attempt of the game as he fired his left foot shot over the crossbar.

India did well to keep Oman at bay at the break and reduce the hosts to few opportunities from open play.

Constantine made a change at half time as he reversed his selection and replaced Rowlin Borges with Sehnaj Singh.

Oman were a lot more fluid in the second half as expected and opened up the Indian defence with some neat passage of play outside the area to release No.9 through on goal in the 50th minute, but the striker took far too much time to get his shot away to allow Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to come off his line and make the save.

But Sandhu couldn’t do anything four minutes later when Ahmed Kano made no mistake to tap home from a headed back cross.

The goal gave Oman the necessary boost as there was greater zip in their play and the Indians were struggling to cope with Oman’s new found vigour.

Oman soon doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali chested down a cross and coolly slotted home past a helpless Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

The pressure was off Oman and they began to play even more freely and almost scored a third goal in the 70th minute when their winger wearing the No.6 shirt cut inside only to shoot wide.

Constantine threw on Robin Singh in place of Cavin Lobo a minute later and the substitute had a chance to make an impact instantly as India ventured forward on the counter attack but Robin directed his pass wrongly as the attacks fizzled away.

Oman were relentless in attacks and sneaked in a third goal as Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali got between the centre backs and headed home a free header. India’s otherwise steady looking pair of Sandesh Jhingan and Arnab Mondal were looked out of sorts in the second half as India fell to their fifth straight defeat in the group.

The loss mounted more pressure on Stephan Constantine after India suffered yet another defeat. India have now won just one game eight games under the Englishman.


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