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AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers: India defeated Oman by a 2-1 scoreline

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On Sunday, the Indian U-23 National Team defeated Oman 2-1 at the Fujairah Stadium in Dubai, UAE, in the first match of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers. Vikram Partap Singh (37′) extended the lead after Rahim Ali (6′) converted an early penalty. Oman’s Waleed Salim scored a late consolation goal, but the three points went to India.

Following his recent success in the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, Igor Stimac got right to work to qualify for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 for the first time since the tournament’s creation in 2013.

He started with the seasoned Dheeraj Singh in goal and two full-backs, Asish Rai and Akash Mishra, to assist the offensive moves. Deepak Tangri and Narender Gahlot were assigned to the defense’s heart. Jeakson Singh and Suresh Wangjam of India’s U-17 FIFA World Cup team manned the center of the field, while Rahul KP and Vikram Partap Singh were deployed on the flanks. At the offensive third, Rahim Ali and Aniket Jadhav were playing.

Before the opponents could settle in, Igor Stimac’s team began launching attacks from both wings, and Vikram earned a penalty in the fifth minute, which Rahim Ali easily converted. Although Oman goalkeeper Ibrahim Yousuf had predicted correctly, Rahim’s penalty kick was brilliantly placed, as the ball went past the upright and into the side-netting.

Rahim opt 1
credit – firstpost.com

Six minutes later, Akash floated in a lovely left-footed cross, but the goalie jumped above Aniket to grab it with ease. Vikram and Rahul’s quick speed kept the Oman midfield on its toes throughout the game, allowing India to score their second goal in the 37th minute.

Akash broke through the midfield on his own, passing the ball to an onrushing Rahim Ali, who rounded off his defender and pushed the ball to an unmarked Vikram to his right. The youngster made no mistake in slotting the ball past an advancing goalkeeper. As the two teams trudged back into the tunnel at half-time, India had a distinct advantage.

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India may have made it three after the restart had Aniket Jadhav not been deemed offside. Rahul KP made one of his trademarks darting runs, cutting in from the left, jinking past a defender, and unleashing a goal-bound effort that was saved. Aniket, who had been loitering close, attempted to pounce on the rebound but was called offside.

Asish Rai produced a key stop to deny Fahad Masaao two minutes before the hour mark, keeping India’s two-goal lead. At the end of the game, Stimac made a few adjustments, and the boys replied in kind to defend their castle against Oman.

Bryce Miranda, who entered the game on 71 minutes, came close to scoring his first goal in the 80th minute. He slipped into the Oman penalty box from the left corner after a beautiful one-two with Rahim Ali, but his shot was miscued.

Omani replacement Waleed Salim tucked home a cross from Abdullah Mohammed Al Balushi in the final minute of regulation time to cut the deficit in half. However, the Indian defense held on to their lead until the final whistle, allowing them to depart the field with all three points.

Following the victory, India and the Kyrgyz Republic are tied for first place in Group E with the same number of points and goal difference. In their next match, India will meet hosts UAE at the same site on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at 10:00 IST.

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