Ratings: Manvir Singh heroics help India edge past Kuwait
Lallianzuala Chhangte who came on in the second half was India’s game-changer.
The Indian football team kicked off their 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign against Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. The Blue Tigers had the upper hand, as they defeated Kuwait 1-0 on their home turf.
Both teams struggled to open their accounts in the first half. With very few opportunities created by both teams in the initial period, the match seemed destined to end 0-0. However, the Indian #9, Manvir Singh had different ideas, as he rattled the net in the 75th minute, securing the win for Igor Stimac’s side in this crucial encounter.
Let’s take a look at the ratings of both the teams:
India (by Uttiyo Sarkar)
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – 6.5
Gurpreet didn’t have that much to do, but was sharp in making key clearances and holding onto the crosses.
Nikhil Poojary – 7.5
Poojary was highly reliable on the right, tracking his man perfectly to cut out a lot of attacks. Defended really well and did well going forward, setting up a big chance for Sunil Chhetri in the first half.
Rahul Bheke – 8.0
Bheke was really proactive at the back, coming up with some vital tackles and clearances to frustrate the hosts. Came up with a huge block soon after the opener to deny Kuwait an equalizer.
Sandesh Jhingan – 7.5
Jhingan commanded over and held together a sturdy defensive line, forcing his teammates maintain solid positions. Reacted well to adversity, as he came up with some vital clearances.
Akash Mishra – 8.5
Mishra was a marvel on the left, completely neutralizing Kuwait’s threat with some fantastic defending that involved a string of crucial clearances. He was also impressive in moving the ball forward and played a great pass to allow Lallianzuala Chhangte to set up Manvir’s goal.
Apuia – 7.5
Apuia proved why he deserves more minutes for India with a really solid performance. Had veins of ice in beating Kuwait’s repeated presses and transitioning the ball forward. He also won a lot of key duels.
Suresh Singh – 7.0
Suresh was energetic in midfield, covering a lot of ground and coming up with some clutch challenges to rattle the hosts.
Sahal Abdul Samad – 6.5
Sahal used his silky style to trouble Kuwait and helped in building up a few decent attacking moves. Used his smart positioning and movement to keep things ticking in the attack.
Manvir Singh – 8.0
Manvir was impressive with his defensive work and moved up and down the right flank diligently. Frustrated with his final output initially, but came up with a moment of brilliance to convert an emphatic left-footed shot to open the scoring.
Naorem Mahesh Singh – 6.5
Mahesh swung in some inviting crosses into the box, but nobody could get to them. Did his defensive job diligently and worked his socks off on the left.
Sunil Chhetri – 6.0
Chhetri didn’t really get that involved in the build-up play and was often squeezed in between the defenders. Guided a shot just over the bar in the first half and didn’t get himself at the end of much chances after.
Lallianzuala Chhangte – 8.0
Chhangte proved to be the super-sub and game-changer for India. Caused trouble with his movement down the left and produced a brilliant assist with his cut-back for Manvir’s goal.
Liston Colaco – 6.0
Added some more pace to the attack and troubled Kuwait with his movement in the transitions.
Anirudh Thapa – 6.5
Thapa moved the ball forward nicely to help in transitions towards the end.
Rohit Kumar – N/A
Rahul KP – N/A
Kuwait (by Atawaris Warsi)
Abdul Rahman Marzouq – 6
Marzouq didn’t have much to do in both halves, apart from the goal in which he could have positioned himself better.
Hasan Alanezi – 6
The Kuwaiti defender was active throughout both halves, keeping Sunil Chhetri at bay on multiple occasions. However, he could have defended better to prevent the lone Indian goal.
Khaled Ibrahim – 6.5
The captain was untroubled for most part of the game. He won some aerial duels and cleared threatening balls. Apart from that, there was nothing more to capitalize on.
Fahad Alhajeri – 5.5
Fahad Alhajeri had a comparatively quiet game.
Sultan Alenezi – 6
He kept the Indian midfielders quiet on numerous occasions by putting on some great tackles.
Redha Abujabarah – 6
He partnered well with his fellow midfielders, but had a comparatively lackluster outing. He was substituted by Faisal Zaid just after half time.
Mobarak Alfaneeni – 6
It was not a good overall game for Mobarak. The midfielder was substituted by Ahmad Zanki.
Shabaib Alkhaldi – 6.5
He had some blistering and good moments but couldn’t capitalize on them. He was substituted in the 75th minute.
Athbi Saleh – 5.5
It was not a captivating performance from Athbi. He created some chances but nothing concrete.
Mohsen Ghareeb – 6
Mohsen wasn’t troubled much by the Indian defenders and was substituted just after half time.
Mohammad Abdulah – 7
The forward was one of the best players for Kuwait. His blistering pace troubled the Indian defenders.
Faisal Alharbi – 6
Faisal created a few opportunities for the home team, but his teammates couldn’t capitalize on them. Received a red card in the dying minutes.
Ahmad Zanki – 6.5
Ahmad was extremely responsible on the pitch as he created space between the Indian defence. He also attempted heading opportunities and connected well with his fellow teammates.
Hamad Alqallaf – 4.5
Responsible for conceding the goal. He could have closed down on Manvir early when the cross was delivered. Received a yellow card too.
Eid Alrashidi – 5
Not a good performance by Alrashidi; he didn’t capitalize much on the ball.
Aqeel Alhazeem – N/A
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