Oman handed India a 1-0 defeat in the 2022 World Cup qualifier Group E game at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Tuesday. Muhsen Al-Ghassani scored what looked like an offside goal in the 33rd minute.
Igor Stimac made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Afghanistan last week. Mandar Rao Desai, Pritam Kotal and Sahal Samad made way for Nishu Kumar, Farukh Choudhary, and Manvir Singh, with Ashique Kuruniyan slotting in at left-back.
The first big moment of the game arrived as early as the sixth minute when Rahul Bheke brought down Muhsen Al Ghassani in the box and Oman were handed a penalty. The striker sent his spot-kick into the stands.
However, Muhsen made up for his miss by scoring in the 33rd minute. Mohsin Al Khaldi opened up the Indian defence with a delicious through-ball to the forward, who appeared to be off-side. The flag did not go up and the 22-year-old slotted it into the bottom corner past a hapless Gurpreet Singh.
Although Brandon Fernandes looked active in the centre of the pitch, the Blue Tigers hardly created any chances. Stimac was also forced to make two changes with Pronay Halder and Adil Khan suffering injuries in the first half.
India started the second half with more intent but failed to threaten Oman's goal. Their first real chance arrived through Brandon's cross that found Manvir Singh at the centre of the box but the striker could not generate enough power for his header to test Ali Al Habsi.
At the other end, Al Mandhar Al Alawi created all sorts of trouble for the Indian defence and created a couple of goal-scoring chances for Ali Al Busaidi. But Gurpreet provided enough resistance to ensure that Oman were not able to double their lead.
There were very little signs of yet another late goal rescuing a point for the Blue Tigers as they barely sniffed the opposition goal in the closing moments. The score-line remained a fair reflection of the game, although the manner in which the goal was scored remains questionable.