GUWAHATI, Sept 6: Indian captain Sunil Chhetri found it difficult to accept while coach Igor Stimac called it a �shame� after they lost to Oman despite taking lead in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifications opening fixture, here on Thursday.
Chhetri�s splendid first-half strike went in vain as India surrendered a one-goal advantage to lose the home-leg game 1-2.
�It is difficult to swallow. I think we didn�t keep the ball in the second half. It�s not easy if we keep giving the ball to a team like Oman. That�s something we need to work on. The boys fought really well,� Chhetri said.
Stimac said they deserved more from the opening fixture.
�I was repeating at half time �don�t let this go�. One silly mistake in the distance and it became two mistakes. We were punished. So late in the game to lose the points which could have given us points to fight for the second place,� Stimac said.
He was �gutted� after seeing his team concede two goals in the last eight minutes of the match.
�I think we deserved more, at least a point for the first half. We dominated the first half. We created many chances and could have killed the game in the first half. Not lucky with shots.�
Besides taking the lead, India dominated the first half with more shots at opposition goal and more possession.
Stimac, who was part of the Croatian team that reached the 1998 World Cup semifinals, said, �I hope whole India has new face of the national team. We have seen what we can do against a strong side like Oman. They showed quality and experience. They were little bit lucky. My guys gave everything.
�We didn�t have many options. We knew we will have problems after 70 minutes with Ashique�s condition, who came after a long injury.� � PTI