India's resilience bags thrilling 1-0 victory against Kuwait in FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers

Indian men's football team secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers second-round.

Sarah Andrew
New Update
Kuwait conquered

India vs Kuwait (Source: Twitter)

India goes off to a thrilling start of FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC qualifiers in the second-round campaign. The football team secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Kuwait at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Thursday.

India stayed in the game without a regulation-time win in the past six matches they’d played, although there were some impressive performances, notably against Iraq in King’s Cup and Kuwait themselves in SAFF Championship final.

Stimac sprung a few surprises with his selection, notably benching Lallianzuala Chhangte, in favour of Manvir and Naorem Mahesh Singh on the wings. Rahul Bheke was preferred to Mehtab Singh at centre-back, while Apuia Ralte made his return to the national team starting in central midfield alongside Suresh Singh Wangjam.

The first-half showed both of India’s games against Kuwait at SAFF Championship ended at 1-1, as the two sides were so evenly matched. The best chance of a drab first half fell to skipper Sunil Chhetri. Nikhil Poojary picked him out with a cross from the right flank, but the skipper’s volley was skewed on to the roof of the net. The second half began in a similar way as a large part of the first went, until Stimac played his trump card. Mahesh was replaced by Chhangte, and there was an immediate spark, as India clicked into gear as an attacking unit. The highlight of the game was when Akash Mishra played Chhangte through on the left, he went to the by-line and played a perfect cut-back for Manvir to finish off first-time with his left foot. The sensational move warranted the victory of the team.

The Lone Goal

The lone goal of the match came in the 75th minute when India winger Manvir Singh exhibits his goal-scoring prowess, smashing a half-volley into Abd Al Rahman Kameel’s net from a well-timed cross by Lallianzuala Chhangte.

The triumph was further spotlighted by the continued resilience of the Indian defense, marshalled by Sandesh Jhingan, and a noteworthy clean sheet maintained by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. India notched up a massive result in their opening 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying second round clash against Kuwait, as Manvir Singh’s second-half winner gave Igor Stimac’s side three points at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City.

While India’s victory owed a large part to their work on the pitch, it was the crowd that definitely had a role to play as well. India’s diaspora spreads far and wide in the world and Kuwait was no exception, with plenty of support for the away side in the stands. The cheers whenever India moved forward in attack were louder than the home support, which reached a crescendo when the goal went in. The Viking clap that reverberated around the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City was a testament to the support India received.

Sunil Chhetri All India Football Federation (AIFF) Manvir Singh Sandesh Jhingan Lallianzuala Chhangte