Asian Cup 2019: India vs Oman friendly | Match Preview, Predictions & Venue
The final rehearsal for the big stage - Asian Cup 2019 is set as India prepares for the friendly against Oman, the final meeting for the Blue Tigers against a national team before the Cup run. The tournament will tell whether the recent changes in Indian football, including the ISL, have made an actual impact on the core of the game in the country.
India's finish here will be the first step towards the big dreams the nation has in the near future. Ahead of this, India and Oman will lock horns at the Baniyas Stadium of Abu Dhabi this Thursday. The match will be played behind closed doors as the two managers do not want their tactics to be learned by the competitors at this late time before the Cup.
The Indian national team touched down in the UAE 17 days before tournament kickoff, being the first team to arrive. The Blues are confident enough to leave a mark, and Oman would be their first test. An impressive performance against the Omanis would be crucial, as they move on to face Thailand, UAE and Bahrain.
India, currently placed at 97 on the FIFA Rankings, recently played friendlies against Jordan and China during the international breaks. In 2018, the national team has played 11 matches, won 6, drawn 1, and lost 3. The players coming from the ISL and the I-League are expected to keep the momentum going in national colours too.
Oman, part of Group F in the Asian Cup, will be a tough challenge to giants Japan in the same group. The team, under Pim Verbeek, has had a great year, remaining unbeaten in all the matches played so far. Oman is scheduled to play two more friendlies before the tournament kicks off, against Australia and Thailand.
This friendly against India will help them adapt more with to conditions. In the 11 games of 2018, Verbeek's team won 5 and drew 6, without tasting defeat. Oman will look to utilise their experienced squad to the maximum at the Asian Cup.
India vs Oman: Match Information
Date: 27 December 2018
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: No Telecast
Venue: Baniyas Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE
India vs Oman: Team News
The Indian team's talking points are the major exclusions from the squad. Rahul Bheke, Michael Soosairaj and Jobby Justin missing out after impressive performances were discussed widely. Nishu Kumar and Jerry Lalrinzuala were earlier released from the national camps due to injury concerns.
Oman will have one player missing out, Ali Al-Habsi. The former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper would have been a big boost to the squad, but the injury he sustained during a Saudi Premier League match has ruled him out from the tournament.
ALSO READ: All you need to know about Oman
India vs Oman: Probable Lineups
India (4-4-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Narayan Das, Udanta Singh, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Halicharan Narzary, Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua
Oman (4-2-3-1): Ahmed Faraj Abdulla Al Rawahi, Mohammed Al-Maslami, Ali Salim, Ali Al-Busaidi, Saad Al-Mukhaini, Qasim Said, Ahmed Mubarak Al-Mahaijri, Mohammed Al-Siyabi, Eid Mohammed Al Farsi, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Abdul Aziz
India vs Oman: Form Guide
Last 5 matches
India vs Oman: Head-to-Head
India vs Oman: Key Players
India will going into this fixture with one spearhead - Sunil Chhetri. As usual, the Indian captain will have the responsibility to find the back of the net for the Blue Tigers. The 34-year old has scored 65 goals for India and will be eyeing increasing the tally. The Omanian defenders will be aware of the 'Chhetri threat', and will have plans to lock him in.
Ahmed Mubarak Al-Mahaijri will be Oman's most experiencer player on the pitch. The 33-year old is perfect both as a defensive midfielder and the central play maker. Mahaijri's experience can be troublesome for the Indian midfield. He has made 156 appearances for the national team, and has netted 20 goals.
India vs Oman: Predictions
Though the two teams aren't far in the FIFA rankings, Oman will have an upper hand before the ball rolls. Oman have played more friendlies recently and have a better record this year. With an experienced and settled side, Verbeek's side might not find India a big hurdle.
However, the exposure from the ISL might help India put up a good challenge, and grab an interesting win if the opponents look to rotate their playing XI.
Predicted Score - India 1:0 Oman