Igor Stimac’s men will look to salvage what is left of their disappointing FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign as they travel to the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat and face high-flying Oman.
India’s world cup qualifying campaign started when they hosted Oman back in September where Sunil Chhetri scored in the 24th minute. With a single goal lead over the higher-ranked Oman, the Blue Tigers were looking ahead to a historic victory. However, Oman had different plans for the home side as they pulled back through Al Mandhar Al Alawi in the 82nd minute and a winner in the 90th minute.
Following the close home defeat, Sunil Chhetri-less India picked up a point at the home of Asian Champions Qatar. The performance against Qatar gave Indian fans hope to see their nation qualify for the big stage. However, poor attacking showings against Bangladesh and Oman where India had to score in the dying minutes to rescue a point erased most if not all hopes for qualifying.
For Oman, however, they will look to extend their lead over Afghanistan and solidify second place. Oman will crack a tough Indian defence which has conceded four goals in as many games. To do so, they will rely on Ahmed Mubarak Kano in midfield.
The 34-year-old, who already has netted four goals in the campaign, has experience in beating the blue tigers. He scored a brace against India back in 2006 and was also a part of the recent 2-1 victory.
Saad ‘Suhail’ Al Mukhaini will also be relishing the chance against an Indian attack which has scored no goals from open play. However, Oman’s defence will need to be wary of set pieces, as all three of India’s goal have come from them.
For the Blue Tigers, they will hope to show similar defensive performances from previous games. However, Chhetri and company need a host of more chances from midfield and will need to convert them if they want their first victory of the campaign.