Muscat: Playing a cool and calculated game, Oman outlasted hosts Bangladesh for a crucial come-from-behind victory in the ongoing FIH Hockey World League Round 2 competition in Dhaka on Tuesday.
In fact, K.K. Poonacha-coached Omanis played with dogged determination to overcome a one goal deficit -- not once but twice -- to hand Bangladesh a 3-2 defeat and set up a quarterfinal showdown with Ghana.
Oman have completed their Pool A engagements with six points from three games to finish second in the group, behind unbeaten Malaysia who routed Fiji 11-1 earlier in the day to take their tally to nine points.
In the quarterfinals to be played on Thursday, Oman take on Ghana (4 points) who finished third in Pool B after a narrow 4-2 loss to Egypt. China defeated Sri Lanka 5-1 to top the group with seven points. Egypt also on seven points finished in second place.
The other quarterfinals will see China facing Fiji, Malaysia meeting Sri Lanka and Egypt taking on Bangladesh.
Oman went into their final Pool A match with a few doubts in their minds after having suffered a 6-1 defeat against Malaysia in their previous game.
However, the Omani showing no signs of rustiness that cost them crucial points against the Malaysians, battled like true champions to overcome Bangladesh.
That too despite conceding a goal as early as the ninth minute when Mamunur Rahman Chayan converted a penalty corner to put the hosts ahead.
Undeterred by the early reverse, Oman maintained their composure and played their natural attacking game. That helped them to exert tremendous pressure on the Bangladeshi, who eventually caved in and conceded a penalty stroke in the 15th minute.
Mohammed Bait Jandal, Oman’s top scorer with three goals in their 7-0 win over Fiji, stepped forward and completed the formalities to bring the score to parity.
But two minutes later, Bangladesh once again went ahead with a fine field goal from Roman Sarkar.
With Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chief Talib Al Wahaibi cheering them from the stands, Oman showed urgency and attacked with more vigour in the second quarter.
As a result Poonacha’s boys scored two goals in minutes. First Muhanna Al Hasani made it 2-2 in the 25th minute with a fine field goal before Khalid Al Batashi scored an opportunistic goal in the 26th minute, which eventually proved the match winner.
For the remaining two quarters, Oman played with caution and managed to keep the Bangladeshi at bay to seal their place in the quarterfinals.
“We have prepared this team well for this match, especially after the defeat to Malaysia. This match meant a lot for us as we were playing against a strong team. It was a very tough match considering they were playing at home,” said OHA chief Talib Al Wahaibi.
“But all credit to the boys. They came up with a high level of performance.. they did well and achieved the desired result,” he added.
Speaking about the quarterfinal against Ghana, he said: “We have watched the match between Egypt and Ghana. It was a tough match and Ghana played well.
“So we have to prepare well for that match. I am sure the boys will be ready for Ghana challenge,” he added.
The Dhaka competition, one of the three WHL Round 2 events, concludes on March 12.
The top two from each of the three Round 2 events will gain direct entry into the HWL semifinals. The semfinals, to be played as two separate events, will take place England and South Africa in June and July while the HWL Finals are scheduled to be held in India in December.