India started off their second-round journey in the FIFA World Cup 2026 AFC Qualifiers with a 1-0 victory over Kuwait, marking their first win against a Middle Eastern nation this year. The solitary goal, courtesy of Manvir Singh, came in the second half at Kuwait City’s Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium on Thursday, November 16.
In the 75th minute, Manvir Singh found the net with a precise left-footed strike, capitalizing on a cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte, securing India’s victory at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.
Kuwait maintained possession for most of the first half, posing a challenge for the Blue Tigers. Despite this, India displayed glimpses of promise, leading to Manvir’s 75th-minute winning goal, a result of a half-volley from Lallianzuala Chhangte’s cross.
The relentless pressure from India, notably through defender Sandesh Jhinghan, was evident in Kuwait’s body language. India missed opportunities in the first half, including chances by Sahal Abdul Samad in the 18th minute and Akash Mishra’s freekick attempt in the 27th minute.
Even though Kuwait started the second half strongly, India gradually gained control. While Kuwait pressed India, they lacked the decisive touch, unlike India, who secured victory in the 75th minute. Although the Blues attempted another shot in the 71st minute, it was off-target.
In the final moments, Kuwait resorted to aggressive play, but India’s defense stood firm, ensuring a clean sheet and securing their first victory against Kuwait since their penalty win in the SAFF Championship earlier in July 2023 after a 1-1 draw.
The match concluded with Kuwait reduced to 10 men as Faisal Alharbi received his second yellow card during added time for a high boot challenge on Chhangte.
India plays Asian champion Qatar next on November 21 in Bhubaneswar.
India is placed in Group A alongside Qatar, Kuwait and Afghanistan, with the top two from the group progressing to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The top two teams from each group will also secure qualification for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
It is important to note that The Blue Tigers have never advanced to the third round of AFC’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers.