17 Nov 2019, 18:24 IST
After escaping with a second successive late draw in their FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers Group E clash against Afghanistan, India travel to Muscat to take on Oman, as they look to keep their faint hopes of qualification for Round 3 of the AFC’s World Cup qualifiers alive.
The Blue Tigers were again insipid in Dushanbe, and had Seiminlen Doungel to thank for a late equaliser which spared them the blushes against Afghanistan.
Oman, on the other hand, are in a strong position in the group, with half the matches having already been played. Erwin Koeman’s men’s only loss thus far has come against Qatar, and on Thursday, they were ruthless in dismantling Bangladesh 4-1 at the Al-Seeb Stadium, where they will host India on Tuesday.
Oman won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Guwahati, with Al Mandhar Al Alawi scoring twice in the last ten minutes to break Indian hearts, after Sunil Chhetri had given India the lead in the first half.
India head coach Igor Stimac has plenty of questions to answer, with his side struggling to find the net from open play. Under the Croatian, India have scored 10 goals in nine games, but only four of them have come from open play. In this qualifying campaign, India are yet to score from open play, with all their three goals coming from Brandon Fernandes set-pieces.
Oman v India: Match Information
Date: 19th November 2019
Kickoff: 8:30 pm IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar
Venue: Al-Seeb Stadium, Muscat, Oman
Oman v India: Team News
Anas Edathodika will miss out again, after having left the camp due to a personal emergency. There weren’t any injuries picked up in the Afghanistan game, so barring Anas, Stimac has a full squad to choose from.
Pronay Halder and Mandar Rao Desai didn’t have particularly good games against Afghanistan. But with no other defensive midfielder in the squad, Halder is likely to keep his place. Nishu Kumar and Subhasish Bose are available, if Stimac chooses to drop Mandar in favour of a more defensively sound player.
With India not expected to have much of the ball in Muscat on Tuesday, Stimac might choose to drop one of his wingers in favour of Manvir Singh, who brings the ability to hold the play up, taking that pressure off Sunil Chhetri.
Oman v India: Predicted India Starting XI
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Mandar Rao Desai, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh
Oman v India: Head-to-Head
Since winning the first game between these two teams in 1994, India have gone seven games without a win against the Omanis. In fact, India have lost their last three competitive games against Oman, with their last visit to Muscat ending in a 3-0 loss.
The Blue Tigers played Oman in a friendly before the AFC Asian Cup 2019, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
India wins: 1
Oman wins: 5
Oman v India: Form Guide
India – D-D-D-L
Oman – W-L-W-W
Oman vs India: Prediction
Going by the form book, and the way the two teams have been playing, there is only one winner that one can foresee in this game. India need to somehow find a way to be more of a consistent threat in open play, while also remaining focused and sharp at the back.
With injuries and other circumstances meaning that the rearguard has been shorn off some of its best players, it is hard to see a way in which India don’t concede goals in this game.
Prediction: Oman 3-0 India
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