Muscat: Oman were handed a 5-1 defeat by China in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 competition in Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Saturday.
The result ended Oman’s hopes of sealing a direct berth in the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Semifinals. However, the Omanis can still dream of clinching a berth as one of the two best third-placed teams from three of the Round 2 competitions when they take on Egypt in the third place match on Sunday.
In the first semifinal played earlier on Saturday, Egypt were defeated 5-0 by inform Malaysia.
Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chief Talib Al Wahaibi, meanwhile, said he was ‘proud of the boys performance’ despite the semifinal defeat.
“China definitely played better today. But I am really proud of the boys performance and how they played so far,” he said.
“Reaching the semifinal is in itself a good achievement,” he added.
“I would like to thank coach (K.K. Poonacha) and his support staff. I would also like to thank Minister of Sports Affaris Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al Mardhouf Al Saadi and Oman Olympic Committee chief Sheikh Khalid Al Zubair for their support to the team and Oman hockey,” he said.
Speaking about Oman’s future engagements, he said: “We have a third place match to play. Then we have the Asia Cup which will also be hosted in Dhaka in September and October. We have to prepare well for that championship.”
According to the news posted on FIH website, Asia will be well represented at the HW) Semifinals in June and July as Malaysia and China guaranteed themselves a spot in the next round of the global competition.
Not only does this mean that both teams will have the chance to qualify for the HWL Finals at the end of the year, but it also keeps their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup very much alive.
It was action all the way at the Moulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on the penultimate day of the HWL Round Two event in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The semifinals saw Malaysia and China slam home five goals apiece to ensure they would be in the final on Sunday. Malaysia were the top-ranked side coming into the competition (world ranking 13) but even so, the 5-0 demolition of Egypt showed that captain Sukri Mutalib and his men mean business.
Goals were shared among the Malaysian sharp-shooters, with Razie Rahim opening the scoring just prior to the end of the first quarter with a well-taken penalty corner. He was joined on the scoreboard by Fitri Saari, Tengku Ahmad, Shahril Saabah and Aiman Nik Rosemi. All Malaysia’s goalscorers during this encounter feature in the top 12 goalscorers for the tournament, demonstrating the depth of attacking ability in the side.
The second semifinal saw the prolific Du Talake score three goals – one penalty stroke and two penalty corners – taking his tournament tally to nine. China raced to a 4-0 lead before Oman pulled one goal back in the final 10 minutes of play. Ashraf Al Nasseri making the most of a rare defensive error from the Chinese.
The other Chinese goals came from Su Lixing and Guo Jin.
In the earlier matches to decide the lower order finishing places, Sri Lanka suffered a 9-0 thumping at the hands of Bangladesh. The hosts scored in the opening minute of the match when Mamunur-Rahman Chayan struck from a penalty corner. Chayan scored a second halfway through the second quarter and was joined on the scoresheet by Milon Hossain (3), Mainul Islam Kowshiq, Arshad Hossain (2) and Rashel Mahmud. The result means Bangladesh will face Ghana in the play-off for fifth place.
And the match between Ghana and Bangladesh has all the makings of a real goal fest as Ghana showed they know where the back of the net is as they demolished Fiji 11-2. Jonny Botsio showed why he is so feared in front of goal as he struck five times, making himself leading goal scorer with one game to play. The other six goals were shared between Matthew Damalie, Shamrock Baah, Elikem Akaba, Godsway Balagi, Richard Adjei and Salya Nsalbini. Adrian Smith and Leevan Dutta scored for Fiji.
Malaysia and China will join the top two finishers from Belfast (March 11-19, 2017) and Tacarigua (March 25-April 2, 2017) in qualifying for the semifinals. They will be joined in the World Cup qualifier phase by the two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events.