India Edge Kuwait 1-0 in FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers Second Round Opener

Phurden Lepcha
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India Edge Kuwait 1-0 in FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers Second Round Opener
In a hard-fought encounter, India secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Kuwait in their opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC football qualifiers second round. The match, held at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City, saw the Blue Tigers emerge victorious thanks to a solitary strike from Manvir Singh in the 75th minute.
The match started with Kuwait on the front foot, putting pressure on the Indian defense early on. However, the Indian team gradually gained a foothold in the game, creating a few scoring chances of their own. The first half ended with the score goalless, but the second half was a more open affair.
India took the lead in the 75th minute when Manvir Singh unleashed a powerful left-footed shot from inside the box, leaving the Kuwaiti goalkeeper with no chance. The goal was the result of a well-worked move, with Lallianzuala Chhangte providing an excellent cross from the right flank.
Kuwait tried to equalize in the closing stages of the match, but the Indian defense held firm. In fact, Kuwait's task was made even more difficult in the third minute of stoppage time when Faizal Zaid Al-Harbi was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
The victory was a much-needed boost for India, who were looking to make a positive start to their qualifying campaign. It was also a significant result for Indian football, as it was the first time that the country had beaten Kuwait in a World Cup qualifier.
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Following the victory, India's head coach Igor Stimac expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance. "We are very happy with the result," he said. "It was a tough game, but we showed great character and determination. We are now looking forward to our next match against Qatar."
Manvir Singh, the match-winner, was also delighted with the victory. "I am very happy to have scored the winning goal," he said. "It was a great moment for me and for the team. We are now confident of doing well in the rest of the qualifiers."
The victory over Kuwait has put India in a strong position in Group A of the qualifying round. They are currently in second place, behind Qatar, but they have a game in hand. The top two teams from each group will progress to the third round of the qualifiers, and the top three teams will also qualify for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
India's next match will be against Qatar on November 21st in Bhubaneswar. It will be a tough test for the Blue Tigers, but they will be confident of their chances after their victory over Kuwait.
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