Oman defeat hurts Bangladesh hopes
Bangladesh's primary target of reaching the semifinals of the Hockey World League Round-2 received a big blow when the hosts surrendered the lead twice to suffer a 2-3 defeat against Oman in their last match of Pool A at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
This, their second defeat from three matches, means Bangladesh finished third in Pool A to set up a quarterfinal clash against Egypt, who are ranked 20th in the FIH rankings. A victory against Oman would have seen Bangladesh face 38th ranked Ghana in the last eight.
It was Bangladesh's the third consecutive defeat to Oman after losing against the same opposition in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games [2-3] and the 2015 Hockey World League [3-4 in shootout].
Bangladesh played relatively well in the first two quarters and struck twice but they had to give up the lead on both occasions due to poor defending and marking.
Though Bangladesh launched attacks from both flanks, the absence of two veteran strikers – Pushkor Khisha Mimo and Hasan Jubair Nilloy – was dearly felt as inexperienced Arshad Hossain and Milon Hossain could hardly connect the ball in front of goal.
Mamunur Rahman Chayan put Bangladesh ahead in the eighth minute by converting a penalty corner but the lead lasted only six minutes as Bait Jandal equalised through a penalty stroke. The hosts restored the lead in the 17th minute through a field goal from Ruman Hossain but Oman's Muhana Al Husain beat substitute goalkeeper Zahid Hossain from close-range in the 24th minute to restore parity. Oman grabbed the winning goal from another counter attack in the 26th minute when Younis Al Nofly hit the board with a fierce hit.
Bangladesh went all out and created huge pressure in the last two quarters, but failed to expose Oman's backline and had to leave the field with a defeat.
“We got a few chances to score but we wasted those chances which was the main reason behind the defeat,” said Zahid who believed that they were half-hearted in the second quarter to concede two goals.
“Though we won the match, it was an equal battle,” Oman coach Ponacha KK said. “The boys successfully foiled opponents' attacks from the two flanks, and executed the plan well.”