- Dec 11, 2023
- Nov 25, 2023
India got off to a magnificent start in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers, defeating Kuwait 1-0 at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Thursday. Indian winger Manvir Singh delivered the decisive blow in the 75th minute.
India’s first opportunity came in the 18th minute of the game, but Kuwait’s defenders took control before Sahal Abdul Samad could even shoot the ball. After some time, India had another chance, but Sunil Chhetri’s shot sailed over the crossbar by the barest of margins. In the 27th minute, Mahesh Naorem earned a freekick for India, presenting a scoring opportunity.
However, Akash Mishra’s attempt failed to find the target, sailing wide of the Kuwait goal. The hosts also squandered a promising chance towards the end of the half, misfiring a long-range effort. Anchored by the resolute Sandesh Jhingan, India’s defence stood firm in the first half, effectively neutralizing Kuwait’s attacking threats and preventing any penetrations into the penalty box.
Kuwait emerged from the break with renewed determination, evident in Fahad Alhajeri’s powerful header from a Mohammad Abdullah freekick that sailed just above the crossbar. Despite their persistent efforts, their finishing touch in the final third remained elusive, leaving them frustrated. Following Lallianzuala Chhangte’s tenacious ball recovery in midfield, Suresh Singh received the first clear-cut shooting opportunity for India in the second half. In the 71st minute, the Indian midfielder unleashed a shot from a distance, but it veered off target, failing to trouble the Kuwait goalkeeper.
In the 75th minute, Manvir Singh unleashed a powerful left-footed shot, converting a pinpoint cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte to secure India’s victory. Kuwait intensified their attacking play towards the end of the game. However, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, helped by a defiant backline, did not allow Kuwait to level the score. To add to Kuwait’s agony, Faizal Zaid Al-Harbi received a red card in stoppage time.
India will be pleased with their performance against Kuwait and will now head to Bhubaneshwar for their next challenge against Qatar on Tuesday, November 21.