This is a great win for Oman. The team played really well in the crunch match. We hope the team continues the same form against China, the OHA chief said.
Anuroop Athiparambath –
MUSCAT, MARCH 9 –
Oman delivered a thrilling performance in the quarterfinal of the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 tournament in Bangladesh capital of Dhaka to edge out Ghana 4-3 on Thursday.
Oman will meet China, who routed Fiji 17-0 in the other quarterfinal, in the semifinal on March 11. In the other semifinal, favourites Malaysia take on Egypt on the same day.
Malaysia beat Sri Lanka 5-2 and Egypt thumped hosts Bangladesh 5-1 in the last-eight matches. After watching Ghana’s spirited outing against Egypt in the league round, Oman wasted no time and were on offensive from the start.
Mohammed al Lawati scored the opening goal for Oman after a brilliant move in the 6th minute.
“This is a great win for Oman. The team played really well in the crunch match. With God’s help we were able to achieve our initial target of getting into the semifinals,” Talib al Wahaibi, Chairman of Oman Hockey Association, said.
Al Wahaibi said that Shaikh Saad bin Mohammed al Saadi, Minister of Sports Affairs, and Shaikh Rashad al Hinai, Under-Secretary of Ministry of Sports Affairs, have sent congratulatory messages to the Oman team in Dhaka. “The quarterfinal against Ghana was really tough. We could see off the physical challenge of Ghana players who picked up two yellow cards also,”Talib said.
After the first goal, Oman pushed for another one and they were successful when Basin Khatar Rajab found the mark through a field goal in the 17th minute to make it 2-0.
In the next minute, Ghana’s efforts for their first goal resulted in a penalty corner, which was fired home by Johny Botsio to reduce the deficit by 2-1.
In the third quarter, Khalid al Shaaibi put Oman ahead with another stunning field goal in 34th minute.
Buoyed by their third goal, Oman went all out on attack. Much to the delight of the Sultanate side, Mohammed Bait Jandal was on target from a penalty corner in the 37th minute to make it 4-1.
In the last quarter of the match, Ghana made some organised attacks in efforts to reduce the deficit. In the 49th minute, Johny Botsio netted a second from another penalty corner to make it 4-2 for Ghana.
Oman defence, which kept hosts Bangladesh at bay in their last league match, repeated the performance as they successfully prevented the Ghanian forwards take advantage of their physical play.
However, Ghana found the target for one last moment when Godsay Balagi scored third one for them, one minute before the full-time.
The OHA Chairman said the players implemented coach KK Poonacha’s tactics without any mistake in the quarterfinal.
“The coach and support staff were happy about the players’ ability to implement game-winning strategies in various phases of different matches in the tournament.”
“We hope the team continues the same form against China in the semis to put Oman in the next round of the HWL.”
Talking about the China match, Talib said Oman will have a different strategy to tackle China’s ball control and speed.
Oman will miss their captain Ayman Abdullah against China. Ayman suffered a knee injury during the match and was ruled out for further matches.
Sri Lanka will take on Bangladesh and Ghana meet Fiji to determine the fifth to eighth spots on March 11.
HWL Round 2
Malaysia bt Sri Lanka 5-2
China bt Fiji 17-0
Oman bt Ghana 4-3
Egypt bt Bangladesh 5-1