Asian Cup: Oman vs India Warm-Up Game Ends with a Goalless Draw

Image Source: Indian Express

India was held to a goalless draw by mighty Oman in an international friendly match at the Baniyas Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

India, currently ranked 97th in the FIFA charts, held their own against their 82nd ranked opponents by creating a few chances while both goalkeepers Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh pulled off a few good saves to keep the scoresheet clean.

The Game: As it happened

 

India had their first opportunity in the 17th minute when skipper Sunil Chhetri won the ball at the top of the box and volleyed it only to see it sailing over the crossbar.

Meanwhile, the Indian defenders had a task on their hands and they took the challenge head-on. The two central defenders Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika kept the attacks in check, with Subhasish Bose and Pritam Kotal playing the supporting role to perfection.

 

In the 28th minute, Amrinder Singh, who started ahead of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, pulled off a terrific save to deny Oman from surging into the lead.

Halicharan Narzary and Udanta Singh did try to stretch it wide and gel well with Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua. But the sturdy Omani defenders were not to be beaten as both teams headed to the changing room locked goalless.

Barely six minutes within coming in, Gurpreet came out with a stunning save to deny Oman for a corner, which was eventually headed out by Jhingan.

At the stroke of the hour-mark, India had their best chance to break the deadlock. Udanta ran past all but even as he crossed, it failed to find an on-rushing Balwant. Off the rebound, Halicharan fired it from the edge of the box, but the rival goalkeeper was not much to be disturbed.

It was the winger’s last action of the day as he was replaced two minutes later by youngster Ashique Kuruniyan.

 

In the 77th minute, Ashique outpaced his marker on the left wing to put a long ball for Balwant, whose lay-off landed on to Udanta’s foot, but the latter failed to convert it from an acute angle.

In the next minute, Ashique’s stupendous run found Balwant but the striker’s header landed on the roof of the net.

India’s last two matches against Oman, in the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers had ended in favour of the opposition by a 2-1 and 3-0 margin. Oman had also won three games on the trot before the match on Thursday night.

India will kick-off their Asian Cup campaign against Thailand at the Al Nahyan Stadium on January 6.

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