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9:00 PM: Hello everyone and welcome to Khel Now’s LIVE COVERAGE of Oman vs India in AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers 2021. India are in Group E with Oman, UAE and Kyrgyzstan. Igor Stimac’s side begin their campaign today against Oman. I am your host Atrayo Bhattacharya and I will keep you company through what promises a fascinating evening of football.
Oman vs India: Building Up
The Blue Colts’ coach named a 23-member squad for the qualifiers, which comprises of a number of players from the Indian Super League. Five members of the side were also part of India’s recent SAFF Championship win. With hosts UAE favourites to advance from the group, India, Oman and Kyrgyzstan will vie for the second place.
Head Coach Stimac stated that the next three matches will provide a chance for the Indian boys to gauge “where they stand against their generation” of other Asian countries.
“We are grateful,” Stimac said at the official press conference. “Given the current situation it’s not easy to play International football these days. The next three matches provide a chance to the youngsters to gain some experience and gauge where they stand against their generation of stronger sides like Oman, UAE, and Kyrgyz Republic.”
“We don’t have huge expectations. We hope everyone will give their best on the pitch. That’s what I am asking from the players. Right at this moment, it’s difficult to say how we will fare against stronger sides who are prepared more than us for this leg. But I also hope we can surprise some. We will look for our chances.”
Referring to a question about rating Oman as an opponent, Stimac expressed: “We have analysed the games which Oman played in the last tournament. We tried to explain to our players about their strengths. How we should play but we need to see how we can execute it on the field.”
The kick-off against Oman U23 is at IST 10 pm, and the match will be streamed live on Indian Football’s social media handles.