Indian football team plays out 1-1 draw against Oman in friendly

Manvir Singh’s header cancelled out an own goal from Chinglensena Singh as India returned to international football with a draw.

By Rahul Venkat

The men’s Indian football team drew 1-1 with Oman in their friendly fixture at the Maktoom Bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Thursday.

Manvir Singh’s goal in the second half gave India a draw after an unfortunate own goal by debutant centre-back Chinglensena Singh.

India’s head coach Igor Stimac named as many as six debutants in his starting line-up and chose to put Amrinder Singh – fresh from winning the Indian Super League title with Mumbai City FC – in goal ahead of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Defender Sandesh Jhingan was named captain for the match in the absence of Sunil Chhetri.

Oman, placed 23 places above India in the FIFA rankings, asserted their dominance early, pegging India back in their own half and attacking from both flanks.

They had a great chance to take the lead when midfielder Rowllin Borges brought down Maqbali inside the box to give away a penalty in the 25th minute.

The Omani striker stepped up himself but his short-run up meant that there was no pace on his strike and it was easily saved by Amrinder Singh.

It seemed like the theme for Oman, who attempted six shots (two on target) in the first half but were unable to break through.

However, their efforts paid off in the 43rd minute as a cross from the left found its way into the box and Chinglensena Singh dived well to intercept it. However, it struck the outstretched Amrinder Singh’s arms and was deflected into the net for an own goal.

India came back with more ideas in the second half, taking their time on the ball and built up a few passing moves.

The approach bore fruit 10 minutes into the second half as debutant winger Bipin Singh ran down the right and his cross found Manvir Singh, who made space between two Oman defenders and pulled off a well-judged header to draw India level.

The game was largely even after that point as both teams struggled to create many chances.

Ishan Pandita was brought on in the closing stages for his national team debut, but the young striker, who forged a reputation as a super-sub during the ISL, did not get the ball enough to make an impact.

India will now play a friendly against UAE on March 29.

Lead image: AIFF Media