An all-round sloppy performance from Bangladesh saw the side suffer a heavy 4-1 defeat against Oman in an away fixture of the joint qualifiers for the World Cup and Asia Cup at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat yesterday.
After a barren first half, Mohsin Al Khaldi, Al Mandhar Al Alawi, substitute Arshad Said Al Alawi and Amran Said Al Hidi struck one goal apiece while Biplu Ahmed pulled one goal back for Bangladesh, who remain glued to the bottom of the table with three defeats and one draw while Oman reduced the gap with leaders Qatar by raising their points tally to nine, just one point behind.
Following brilliant performances in the last two matches against Asian champions Qatar and India, there was an expectation that the boys in red and green would be able to carry that momentum into the Oman tie, however, the charges of Jamie Day failed miserably.
Ahead of the match, coach Day predicted that the match against Oman was going to be extremely tough. This assumption turned out to be true indeed thanks to their poor performance with Bangladesh players even looking too tired to run later in the match.
Despite making a lot of unforced errors, Bangladesh held back their might opponents, who are 100 places ahead in FIFA rankings, in the first half. However, the scenario soon changed drastically soon after the second half began.
As expected, the ball was confined to Bangladesh’s side in the first half due to the superior ball possession of the home team, who pressed hard with crosses whipping in from both flanks, but they could not break the Bangladesh backline with goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana standing solid under the post to deny Mohsin Al Khaldi, Al-Mandhar Al Alawi and Muhsen Saleh Al Ghassani.
Interestingly, Bangladesh mustered the first shot on target in the 11th minute when Jamal Bhuiyan unleased a powerful shot from 35 yards only to be thwarted by brilliant goalkeeping from Ali Al Habsi.
Oman eventually broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half with Al Khaldi shooting a powerful left-footer into the near post from the top of the box after availing a cross from Said Al Razaiqi.
After conceding, Bangladesh started coming out of their defensive shell and began defending in the opposition half, leaving a big space behind the backline and Oman punished the visitors for their folly with quick runs.
Oman again launched an attack through the right flank with Abdul Aziz Al Gheilani releasing a cross which was misjudged by goalkeeper Rana, leaving an unmarked Mandhar Al Alawi to tap it in from inside the six-yard box to double the lead in the 68tth minute.
Oman came close to widening the gap further from a counter attack in the 77th minute but Mushen Salah Al Ghassani was denied by woodwork before substitute Arshad Said Al Alawi made it 3-0 in the 78th minute with a powerful left-footer, courtesy of a poor clearance from Raihan Hasasn.
Bangladesh kept on with their offensive approach to reduce the margin in the 80th minute when Biplo Ahmed found the back of Oman’s net with an angular shot off a Saad Uddin header.
Oman completed the rout in the 90th minute when defender Al-Hidi scored the fourth goal from inside the box as goalkeeper Rana lost his grip on the ball and allowed it to roll over the line.