Resilient India hold Oman for a goalless draw
by Shubham Sharma
Abu Dhabi: A gritty Indian side held Red Warriors Oman for a 0-0 draw at the Bani Yas Stadium in Abu Dhabi in a practice match before the Asian Cup. The match begin with the Arabian side looking to dominate the attack but after a dozen minutes, the Blue Tigers found their momentum as they went on to attack and put Oman defense under pressure.
Jeje and Sunil paired up well upfront to pace up Indian attack with the latter hitting a shot at the 18th minute which was just off target. India continued to attack finding freekicks and came close to scoring at 35th minute but Oman somehow cleared off the danger.
At half time,coach Constantine made three changes, bringing in Balwant for Jeje, Germanpreet Singh for Pronay Halder and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for Amrinder Singh. The custodian Gurpreet made a great save at the 52nd minute as both the teams were yet to break the deadlock.
Udanta made great runs down the flank at the 58th and 63rd minutes to create chances for India but the Blue Tigers were unable to draw the first blood. Ashique was brought in for Halicharan Narzary at the 65th minute and the FC Pune City winger propelled India's attack, giving a hard time to Oman defence. Anas was subbed out for Salam Ranjan at the 68th minute and Thapa for Borges at the 71st minute.
India's best chances came at the 77th minute when Ashique's cross found Balwant who dashed the ball to Udanta but he missed the target by a whisker and at the 78th minute when the right winger's cross found Balwant at a very good position who just couldn't head it home.
Gurpreet thwarted off a couple of late attacks from the opponents as the teams settled for a draw. India is now slated to play a Gulf club on 30th December before the start of the Asian Cup.