Oman storms into final

Oman produced a performance of high class and authority to outclass a hapless Thailand side 8-0 and storm into the final of the Asian Games Qualifiers hockey at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Thursday. Oman will lock horns against Bangladesh, who edged past Sri Lanka 3-2 in the first semifinal, in the summit clash on Saturday.
A brace each from Rashad al Fazari (27th, 29th), Basim Khatar Rajab (34th, 49th) and Imad al Hasani (12th, 57th) were the highlights.
Khalid al Shaaibi (56th) and Asaad Mubarak al Qasmi (53rd) were also contributors in the demolition act.
Oman began the game in attacking fashion with Khalid al Shaaibi and Rashad al Fazari combining well.
In the 8th minute, Salah al Saadi had a shot on goal from close range that was parried by Suriphong Jongjum.
Oman received their first penalty corner in the 12th minute but failed to convert it as the search for the opening goal continued.
Imad al Hasani then got the crowd going with his neat finish in the 12th minute that helped Oman take a 1-0 lead.
The plus for Oman in the first quarter was the midfield that was hustling and keeping the Thais on their toes with some fast-paced passing.
Marwan al Raisi, Wali Hassan Sanjor and Sami al Laun were keeping the Omani midfield movements in fine fettle.
Thailand looked a rejuvenated team at the commencement of the second quarter.
In the 19th minute, Wiros Yosiri made a pacy run down the left flank to come close to making something happen but the Omani defence was firm.
Oman did not let complacency get the better of them and the likes of Rashad and Mahmood al Hasni probed the Thai defence.
Basim Khatar Rajab was in his element with some very skillful manoeuvres through the left of midfield into the Thai ‘D’.
Oman’s joy was doubled in the 27th minute when Rashad struck with a clinically executed shot inside the ‘D’.
Just as the second quarter was about to finish, Rashad sounded the board for the second time after a tap-in off a Imad pass.
Thailand were really up against it with 0-3 down but they were not going to throw in the towel with two quarters to go.
However, Oman’s relentless pursuit of domination saw them scoring the fourth goal through Basim Khatar Rajab in the 34th minute.
Thailand were awarded their first penalty corner in the 39th minute but they wasted the opportunity.
That was just about the only glimmer of hope that Bangladesh had in the game where Oman were calling the shots completely.
Basim Rajab showed his class in the 49th minute when he drag-flicked a penalty corner to virtually seal the match for Oman with the fifth goal.
Asaad Mubarak al Qasmi was quiet throughout the game but come the 53rd minute and the striker put one past the Thai goalkeeper Jongjum.
Oman’s most complete performance of the tournament so far is all one can say after this 8-0 thrashing of Thailand.
It was Khalid al Shaaibi’s turn in the 56th minute and he slotted the ball home off a clean cross as the seventh goal was executed.
Imad rubbed salt to Thailand’s wounds with his second and Oman’s eighth goal in the 57th minute.