India's hopes of World Cup qualification are all but over after yet another disappointing display that saw them lose to Oman 1-0 in Muscat on Tuesday. Oman dominated the first half and failed to convert a penalty early on before taking the lead in the 33rd minute. With three draws and two losses from five games so far, India are currently fourth in the group with just three points.
Player ratings: Oman 1-0 India
India's display improved in the second half and they showed some decent ambition going forward. Despite two forced substitutions in defence, they looked much tidier at the back in the later half.
India's defence looked all over the place throughout the first half and they were punished for yet another sloppy start. There was no real supply from midfield and the ball retention from the forwards was extremely poor. The fact that Ali Al-Habsi was a virtual spectator for the entirety of the game makes this arguably their worst performance of the campaign so far.
Manager rating out of 10 -- 4 -- Igor Stimac's team selection, although partly forced due to fitness issues, looked questionable. The defence was poor and none of the attacking players seemed clear about their roles. To be fair to Stimac, all three of his substitutions were forced -- two of them in the first half itself -- thus giving him little scope to change things up in the second.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best)
GK Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, 7 - Couldn't do much for Oman's opener. Made sharp saves during set-pieces and a brilliant one late on to deny Al-Busaidi.
DF Nishu Kumar, 4 -- Had the toughest job on the pitch defending against Al Mandhar at right back. Exposed throughout as the hosts flooded the left flank, particularly during the first half.
DF Rahul Bheke, 3 -- Looked uncomfortable right from the start as most of Oman's initial attacks came from the left. Responsible for giving away the penalty with a sloppy tackle early on and would have been relieved to see it skied. Taken off due to injury in the second half.
DF Adil Khan, 2 -- Unlike the last couple of games, never looked assured against a confident Oman attack. His sloppy clearance led to the attack that resulted in Oman's opener. Taken off shortly after due to an injury.
MF Ashique Kuruniyan, 4 -- The stand-in left back rarely contributed defensively, wandering along the left wing hoping to receive the ball out wide. It forced Farukh and Brandon to drop deep to fill the hole. Had more of the ball in the second half, but wasn't clinical enough with crossing.
MF Pronay Halder, 2 -- Got booked with a typically sloppy tackle in front of the Indian box early in the first half. Subbed off before the half-hour mark due to a shoulder injury.
MF Farukh Choudhary, 5 -- Didn't get a chance to shine in the attacking half, but chipped in with some crucial contribution at the back.
MF Brandon Fernandes, 4 -- The only genuine passer in the midfield, Brandon rarely had a chance to make an impact - spending most of the time covering for his defence during Oman's counter. Wasn't his clinical self on set pieces either.
FW Sunil Chhetri, 3 -- Employed in the hole, the Indian captain spent most of his time trying to start the press, without much fruit. Often dropped deep to start the attack, but India struggled to stitch together meaningful passes in the opposition half.
FW Udanta Singh, 6 -- Showed genuine intent and started some promising moves. But much like some of his recent performances, the end product was missing.
FW Manvir Singh, 4 -- His hold-up play was promising as always. There was just not enough going on up front for India for any of it to materialize.
Vinit Rai, 3 -- Came on for the injured Halder in the first half. Was sloppy for much of the game.
Anas Edathodika, 5 -- Came on for Adil due to another forced substitution in the first half and looked tidier than the rest of the defence. Was lucky to avoid a booking for a foul against Al Ghassani, but brought more control to the defence. Missed a presentable chance to work the keeper from a Brandon corner in second half.
Sarthak Golui, 5 -- Came on for Bheke in the second half. Wasn't really troubled as the hosts eased off the pressure in the second half. Switched play with some gorgeous cross-field balls on a couple of occasions.