India skipper Sunil Chhetri congratulated all the players who made their debuts during the clash against Oman and wants them to “build on the moment and the memory.”

“To all those who pulled on the India shirt for the first time in your lives, build on the moment and the memory. Turn back to it when you need that extra bit of motivation. Congratulations lads – Suresh, Akash, Bipin, Jeakson, Ashutosh, Yasir, Ishan, Sana, Apuia, and Mashoor,” Chhetri tweeted. India played against Oman in Dubai on Thursday in the first of the two international friendlies, with the second match against the UAE slated for March 29. Chhetri is not taking part in the friendlies owing to medical reasons as he tested positive for coronavirus on March 11.

Manvir Singh and Amrinder Singh played crucial roles for the Blue Tigers in their return to International football after a gap of 492 days, as India were held to a 1-1 draw by Oman at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai, UAE.

Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh saved a penalty-kick in the first half but Oman took the lead in the 43rd minute through an own goal. However, the Blue Tigers went toe-to-toe with their opponents and grabbed the leveller through Manvir Singh, who headed home a cross from Bipin.

India head coach Igor Stimac handed International debuts to as many as 10 players – Akash Mishra, Ashutosh Mehta, Chinglensana Singh, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Bipin Singh and Jeakson Singh were the debutants who started the match, while Lalengmawia Ralte, Yasir Mohammad, Ishan Pandita, and Mashoor Shereef got their respective debuts from the bench.

Despite being held to a draw, Stimac was happy with the performance of his team.

“One good thing was the result in the end. The whole team reacted really well in the second half.” the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) website had quoted Stimac as saying.

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