Muscat: Despite playing a positive and attacking hockey, Oman failed to clinch the crucial Pool B match going down narrowly to China for their second defeat in the ongoing AHF Asia Cup on Saturday.
According to news posted on the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) website, China overcame a stiff challenge from Oman to win 2-1 at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka.
Oman captain Hashim Al Shatri lamented the fact that they let go a realistic chance of winning points in the tournament.
A disappointed Hashim Al Shatri said after the match: “I think this was our best chance to earn winning points but we were really unlucky to miss out on some easy chances.
“Chinese players seemed to slow down in the third and fourth quarter because of the humid weather but sadly, we could not use that to our advantage.”
“We are used to these conditions in Oman. That said, I must point out that our goalkeeper (Fahad) Al Noufali made some really good saves and ensured the goal difference was not too much.”
Both teams began the first quarter with attacking hockey. While it was China who drew the first blood with a successful penalty stroke well-executed by Du Talake in the seventh minute, Oman equalised in the eighth minute when Rashad Al Fazari came up with a lethal dragflick to convert a penalty corner.
The following minutes saw Oman play impressive hockey with noteworthy skills and good structure. They kept the Chinese forwards at bay with good defence that kept them from making any successful forays into Oman’s circle.
The second quarter saw both teams vie for goals but was hard to come by as both teams missed the net by close margin. The scoreboard, meanwhile, continued to read 1-1. China finally made a breakthrough in the 44th minute when Quyang Guan beat the Oman defenders to put the ball past goalkeeper Fahad Al Noufali and take the much-desired 2-1 lead.
The sultry Dhaka weather slowed down the pace of the game a tad bit in the final 15 minutes. Though Oman made desperate attempts to create successful circle penetrations, they missed out close chances to score.
China on the other hand found an opportunity to double their lead via penalty corner in the 51st minute when their forward found the foot of Oman defender in the circle. China, however, couldn’t capitalise as a poorly executed variation saw the ball being pushed out of the circle by Oman defenders.
The following minutes saw an alert Oman goalkeeper Al Noufali make good saves and ensured Oman still stood a chance in the match. But sadly, they could not create a strong comeback and eventually settled for a 1-2 loss against China.
Meanwhile, Chinese skipper Jin Guo said the team was lucky to win the match.
“We should have won this match easily and with a bigger margin but unfortunately we missed quite a few opportunities to score. We got six penalty corners but could not convert. Also we are coming into this tournament after the National Games in China and the players are quite exhausted from that event,” said Jin Guo said.
Next Oman, who lost their opening match 7-2 to South Korea, play Malaysia on Monday while China take on South Korea on the same day.