FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers: India beat Kuwait in second round opener after Manvir’s second-half goal

Manvir Singh after scoring India's first and only goal
Image Source : FIFA WORLD CUP TWITTER Manvir Singh after scoring India’s first and only goal against Kuwait

Team India kicked off their second-round campaign in the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers with a 1-0 win against Kuwait, their first against the Middle East nation this year, following Manvir Singh’s sole goal in the second half at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Thursday, November 16. Kuwait didn’t let the Blue Tigers off the hook easily, especially in the first half, keeping the possession for the longest time, but some positive glimpses were from the Indian team which eventually led to a 75th-minute winner from Manvir, who converted a half-volley from Lallianzuala Chhangte’s cross.

Kuwait kept the possession but relentless pressure from the Indians, especially defender Sandesh Jhinghan showed in the body language of the home team. A couple of chances were missed in the first half by the Indian team, first in the 18th minute by Sahal Abdul Samad, who was closed out in the box before Akash Mishra failed to convert a shooting opportunity in the 27th minute through a freekick assist.

Kuwait too missed a scoring opportunity at the end of the first half and began the second in a great manner before India took control. Kuwait kept on putting pressure on the Indian team but lacked the killer blow, which eventually came from the Men dressed in Orange in the 75th minute. There was another attempt in the 71st minute from the Blues, but it wasn’t to be as it went off-target.

Kuwait played some attacking but desperate football in the last few minutes but India ensured they didn’t concede a single goal and achieved a first win against Kuwait in 2023, after a 5-4 win on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the SAFF Championship earlier in July.

India next face Qatar in the second Group A match on Tuesday, November 21 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. India also have to play Afghanistan, the fourth team in their group. The top two teams will qualify for the third round while sealing the spot in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.


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