NEW DELHI: In a sensational start to India’s second round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the ‘Blue Tigers’ secured a 1-0 victory over Kuwait as Manvinder Singh scored a fabulous strike into the back of the net, on Thursday.
Singh’s goal came off a lofted cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte which left the Kuwaiti defence scrambling, while goalkeeper Abdul Marzouk was left staring at the ball smashed into the net. The goal that arrived in the 76th minute was the solitary goal in the entire match as the men in blue cruised past in the away game held at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in the city of Ardiya.
Kuwait was left to fend for themselves by the end of the match with 10 men as Faisal Al-Harbi was shown a second yellow card at the 93rd minute of the match for a high boot challenge on the Mumbai City FC wonderman Chhangte.
Earlier in July, the 106th-ranked Indian team had beaten the 149th-ranked Kuwait team in penalty shootouts at the South Asian Football Federation Championship.
The Indian football team is slated to play against Asian Cup champions Qatar in Bhubaneswar on November 21 to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. The top two teams in the group comprising India, Afghanistan, Qatar and Kuwait will also qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, while securing entry into the third round of the FIFA qualifiers.
If India defeats Qatar, they will stand a chance to secure their maiden participation in the third round of the AFC FIFA WC qualifiers.
Reportedly, this was India’s first away victory since 2001 at a FIFA qualifier, making it a 22-year wait, when they registered a win against Brunei. Presently, experts have opined that this victory has made it easier for India to claim a top-two berth in the points table, with Qatar, ranked 61, being the clear favourite to secure the top berth.