Hockey World League Round 2: Oman finishes Dhaka campaign with fourth place
Oman concluded its campaign in the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 at the Moulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Sunday with a defeat and a fourth-place finish in the eight-team competition that was won by title favourite Malaysia.
Playing against a much-higher ranked rival, Egypt, in a third-place playoff, Oman was outplayed by the African power as it succumbed to a 1-5 defeat.
Despite the loss, Oman coach K K Poonacha termed the campaign 'satisfying' and said, “My players did play well, but came short against higher-ranked teams like Malaysia, China and Egypt. Overall it was a satisfying campaign.
“Against stronger teams, our players lack experience and we need to play more against top-class teams to improve.”
A day after it had lost to China by a similar margin in the semifinals, Oman, ranked 31st in the world, had no answer to its rival's strength as it conceded two goals in the first quarter.
Houssam Ghabran was on target in the 11th minute, and two minute later, Mahmoud Mamdouh made it 2-0 by converting a penalty corner.
Oman's Mohammed Hubeis then raised hopes of a fightback when he converted a penalty stroke in the 21st minute and Oman held on to keep the score 2-1 till the end of the third quarter.
However, Egypt, ranked 20th in the world, went on a goal-scoring spree as it blasted three goals in the final six minutes with Amr Ibrahim converting the penalty corners and Mamdouh slotting in a field goal in the last minute of the match.
Malaysia, meanwhile, claimed the title with a hard-fought 5-3 win in a penalty shootout against China in the final after the teams were tied 2-2 in regulation-time.
Bangladesh edged out Ghana 4-3 in a shootout after the teams were locked 3-3 to finish fifth, and Sri Lanka beat Fiji 5-3 to claim the seventh place.
Malaysia and China, as finalists, had already guaranteed themselves berths in the HWL semifinals, to be played in June-July this year.
A spot in the next round means both teams will have the chance to qualify for the HWL Finals at the end of the year. It also keeps their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup alive.