Kuwait City: Manvir Singh struck 15 minutes from time to earn India a 1-0 win over hosts Kuwait as Igor Stimac’s side kicked off the Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 by claiming all three points in their Group A opener on Thursday.
Singh’s first-time strike secured the Indians victory at the end of a keenly contested clash at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium, where many in the crowd had turned out to back the visitors.
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri was left frustrated when he fired his first-time effort over the Kuwaiti bar in the 19th minute, the veteran strike miss-firing after Nikhil Poojary’s ball from the right.
Manesh Naorem threatened to unlock the home defence nine minutes later with a free kick that he swung towards Sandesh Jhingan but the defender narrowly failed to make contact and the ball flew harmlessly into the arms of goalkeeper Abdulrahman Kameel.
In an opening 45 minutes of limited opportunities for the home side, Mohammad Daham had a rare strike on target for the hosts but his weak effort caused Gurpreet Singh few problems.
Two minutes after the restart Kuwait were off target again.
Daham’s free kick from the right was swung towards Fahad Al Hajeri, but the defender’s header was high and wide. The outcome left the Kuwait SC man thumping his fist on the turf in frustration.
Suresh Singh Wanjam’s 71st minute effort well off target and the game looked to be heading for a draw when Manvir Singh struck four minutes later.
The Mohun Bagan striker showed his ruthlessness to finish off a lightning quick move forward with a clinical strike after Lallianzuala Chhangte’s ball across the face of goal.
Daham thought he was in position to level the scores with 10 minutes remaining only to see his efforts blocked by goalkeeper Singh.
And the hosts’ problems were compounded deep into injury when Faisal Al Harbi was sent off for a high challenge on Chhangte, effectively guaranteeing Stimac’s side left with the points.