Oman maul depleted India

A depleted India suffered a 1-5 thrashing at the hands of Oman in an international football friendly match here on Thursday.

India fielded youngsters Gurjinder Singh and Lester Fernandes in defence and midfield respectively and also were without the forward duo of Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua.

The absence of the some established players showed as India were clueless in the midfield and attack while the defence was caught napping several times, allowing the home team players to make merry, especially in the second half, after they had led 2-0 within the first seven minutes.

Al-Ghassani Mohammed (5th), Ismail Al Ajmi (7th, 58th), Hasan Rabie (87th) and Abdullah Thuwaini (90th) scored for Oman while Joaquim Abranches found the target for India in the 64th minute at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex stadium.

India, who were led by Samir Naik, never recovered after conceding two early goals and got very few scoring chances during the match, which was for most part dominated by the home side who are ranked 59 places above the visitors at 95 on the FIFA list.

As early as the fifth minute, the Indian defence failed to clear a Saad Suhail cross from the right and Al-Ghassani jumped higher than four blue shirts to nod home comfortably.
Two minutes later, India were down 0-2 with goalkeeper Karanjit Singh beaten fair and square by a powerful left-footer by Ismail Al Ajmi from top left side of the box.

It looked like India were coming into their own terms towards the close of the opening session with some good moves inside the Omani box but Savio Medeira’s boys failed to have a clear look at the opposition goal.

Oman began the second half looking to seal the match with another goal, and they did it with Al Ajmi bagging his second of the evening after a great run-in by Juma Darwish.

At the hour mark, Savio Medeira brought in Syed Rahim Nabi in place of Anthony Pereira and that move added a bit of sting to the side. Nabi fed Abraches to pull one back for India in the 64th minte.

India conceded two quick goals in the dying moments of the match with Hasan Rabie and Abdullah Thuwaini punishing a demoralised Indians with a strike each in the 87th and 90th minutes.

The match was part of preparation for India’s participation in the AFC Challenge Cup foom March 8-19 in Nepal.

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