Manvir Singh’s second-half header earns India a draw against Oman

The Indian national team ended their long-awaited return to international football with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Oman at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Thursday. The first half saw Oman miss a penalty before taking the lead through an Amrinder Singh own goal. However, India struck back thanks to a headed equaliser by Manvir Singh in the 55th minute.

  • An Amrinder Singh own goal gave Oman a first-half lead.
  • Manvir Singh headed home an equaliser for India 10 minutes into the second period.

The Blues Tigers found themselves on the back foot from the outset as Oman created their first chance in the 4th minute when Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali headed an Ahmed Khalifa cross from the left off target. India found it difficult to get on the ball but did have a corner in the opening exchanges without making much use of it as Oman enjoyed the lion's share of possession.

The middle-eastern nation looked dominant both in terms of territory and possession, carving another good opening 10 minutes later after working their way into the box and firing over the crossbar. Abdullah Abdulghafur then attempted a shot from the edge of the box in the 24th minute only to see his effort sail above the crossbar.

Oman though had their best chance of taking the lead a few minutes later when Rowllin Borges was deemed to have fouled in the box by the referee, who was quick to point to the spot for a penalty. Abdulaziz stepped up to take the spotkick and tried to place the ball without much power, allowing Amrinder to make a save.

However, their failure to convert the penalty only seemed to spur Oman on as they upped the ante. Their perseverance in attack was eventually rewarded in the 42nd minute when Chinglensana Singh’s attempt at clearing a cross from the left struck Amrinder on his back and went into the net to make it 1-0 for Oman at the break.

Oman began the second half looking to extend their lead and had an excellent opportunity to do so eight minutes into the restart. After some intricate play on the right, Amjad Al Harthi was put through on but he ended up dragging his shot wide of goal to the disappointment of his teammates.

They were made to pay for that miss a couple of minutes later as the Blue Tigers restored parity courtesy of a Manvir goal. After gaining possession near Oman’s box, Ashutosh Mehta passed the ball to Bipin Singh, who delivered a delightful cross into the box for Manvir to head home India’s equaliser.

Oman looked to regain their lead and forced Amrinder into making a save in the 63rd minute to deny Abdullah Abdulghafur from scoring a freekick. Amrinder was called into action again four minutes later to prevent Issam Al Sabhi from getting on the scoresheet.

India also had a chance in the opposition box in the 72nd minute when Ashutosh delivered a cross into the box from the right for Manvir, who couldn’t keep his header on target on this occasion. The closing stages of the contest saw India defend resolutely and make it difficult for Oman to create chances. Oman tried their best to create another opening before the final whistle by throwing more bodies forward in attack, but the Blue Tigers held on to earn a hard-fought draw.

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