In a triumphant start to their FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers second-round campaign, the Indian men’s football team secured a 1-0 victory against Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Thursday.
The lone goal of the match was delivered by Indian winger Manvir Singh in the 75th minute, as he expertly smashed a half-volley into Abd Al Rahman Kameel’s goal from Lallianzuala Chhangte’s well-placed cross. Kuwait faced additional setbacks when Faizal Zaid Al-Harbi was sent off in second-half stoppage time.
Despite being initially restricted to their own half by the world No. 136 Kuwait, ranked 102nd in the FIFA Rankings, the Indian team gradually gained momentum. Early chances saw Sahal Abdul Samad and Sunil Chhetri in promising positions, with the latter’s shot narrowly missing the crossbar.
Indian midfielders had a great day on field
As the game progressed, the Indian midfielders pressed higher and created opportunities, with Mahesh Naorem’s free-kick leading to a chance that Akash Mishra couldn’t direct towards the Kuwait goal. Both teams failed to capitalize on their opportunities, with Kuwait unable to convert a long-range effort toward the end of the first half.
Kuwait began the second half with increased effort, but their endeavours lacked precision in the final third. Despite promising moments for Suresh Singh and other attempts, the deadlock was eventually broken by Manvir Singh’s clinical strike.
The victory positions India in Group A alongside Asian champions Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The four teams will engage in a home-and-away-round-robin format, with the top two teams advancing to the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers’ third round and securing a direct entry into the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.