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Oman vs India, FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: 3 key players for India 

Mohak Arora
ANALYST
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Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:04 IST

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The Indian national football team have their work cut out to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Cup after losing one and drawing the other three matches from their first four qualifying games.

Igor Stimac's first competitive match started brightly as India led 1-0 at half time against Oman through a Sunil Chhetri goal. But, Al Mandhar Al Alawi scored a brace late into the match winning the three points for the visitors on the night.

It was followed by a brave 0-0 draw against Qatar that earned huge praises for the Indian team. When everything was looking bright, the Indian team drew two consecutive matches against lowly ranked sides like Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The Blue Tigers would be looking to bounce back from the disappointing form and earn some important points when they travel to Muscat on Tuesday.

On that note, let's look at three players from the Indian football team who would be crucial for the match against Oman.

#3 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Photo: ISL)
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Photo: ISL)

The 27-year-old goalkeeper dons the No.1 shirt for the Indian team and has been the undisputed number choice for his position under three different managers. There is a reason why Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is the first choice between the sticks despite the very talented and skillful Amrinder Singh waiting in the wings.

In the first four matches of the 2019-20 season of Indian Super League, Bengaluru FC have struggled in attack but the lanky figure and big hands of Gurpreet have ensured that the Blues have kept three clean sheets barring the match against FC Goa.

In the absence of senior central defenders Sandesh Jhingan (due to a prolonged injury) and Anas Edathodika (due to personal reasons), Gurpreet's role becomes even more crucial for the Indian team.

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#2 Sahal Abdul Samad

Sahal Abdul Samad
Sahal Abdul Samad

The spectators in Tajikstan saw a flashy display from Brandon Fernandes against Afghanistan on Thursday and the set-piece abilities of the FC Goa midfielder are crucial to India's playing style under Igor Stimac.

But, it's the 22-year-old Kerala Blasters central midfielder that is pivotal for the Blue Tigers against sides that like to continuously attack and not sit back and defend their slender lead like Afghanistan did in India's last World Cup Qualifier on Thursday. Sahal Abdul Samad can be a key to unlocking defenses that like to play out expansive football from the back.

The creative midfielder's incisive passes that cuts through defenses can be the Indian team's main weapon for years to come and we could well witness a starring performance from the young star against Oman.

#1 Udanta Singh

Udanta Singh in a Bengaluru FC shirt (Photo: ISL)
Udanta Singh in a Bengaluru FC shirt (Photo: ISL)

The 23-year-old winger has been a mainstay in the Blue Tigers' squad for a number of years now and is the main outlet for the Indian attack on the right side.

The young winger has been improving every season showing lots of potential to become one of the best players to play in that position for the country. In the 2017-18 season, he scored 1 goal and made 7 assists. Last season, Carles Cuadrat gave more of a pivotal role to Singh as he scored 5 goals and 3 assists increasing his direct goal output alongside improving his dribbling and crossing skills.

With Ashique Kuruniyan on the other wing, the Bengaluru FC duo would be looking to supply width and threat from the wings with Sunil Chhetri waiting for service in the middle.

Udanta Singh has only one goal and two assists in his 26 matches for India and he would certainly be looking to improve on that record in Muscat.

Published 18 Nov 2019, 06:34 IST
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