Dhaka (Bangladesh), 14 October, 2017: China overcame a stiff challenge from Oman to win 2-1 in their Hero Asia Cup 2017 Pool B clash here at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Both teams began the first quarter with attacking hockey. While it was China who drew the first blood with a successful penalty stroke well-executed by Du Talake in the 7th minute, Oman equalised in the 8th minute when Rashad Al Fazari came up with a lethal dragflick to convert a penalty corner. The following minutes saw Oman play impressive hockey with noteworthy skills and good structure. They punished the Chinese forwards with good defence that kept them from making any successful forays into Oman’s circle.
The second quarter saw both teams vie for goals but was hard to come by as both teams missed the net by close margin. The score board, meanwhile, continued to read 1-1. China finally made a breakthrough in the 44th minute when Quyang Guan beat the Oman defenders to put the ball past goalkeeper Fahad Al Noufali and take the much-desired 2-1 lead.
The sultry Dhaka weather slowed down the pace of the game a tad bit in the final 15 minutes. Though Oman made desperate attempts to create successful circle penetrations, they missed out close chances to score.
China on the other hand found an opportunity to double their lead via penalty corner in the 51st minute when their forward found the foot of Oman defender in the circle. It didn’t help Oman’s cause with two of their runners being sent away for rushing in before the injector could pass the ball. China however couldn’t capitalize as a poorly executed variation saw the ball being pushed out of the circle by Oman defenders.
The following minutes saw an alert Oman goalkeeper Noufali make good saves and ensured Oman still stood a chance in the match. But sadly, they could not create a strong comeback and eventually settled for a 1-2 loss against China.
Post match comments:
An evidently disappointed Oman captain Hashim Al Shatri said, “I think this was our best chance to earn winning points but we were really unlucky to miss out on some easy chances. Chinese players seemed to slow down in the third and fourth quarter because of the humid weather but sadly, we could not use that to our advantage. We are used to these conditions in Oman. That said, I must point out that our goalkeeper Noufali made some really good saves and ensured the goal difference was not too much.”
Meanwhile, Chinese skipper Jin Guo said the team was lucky to win the match. “We should have won this match easily and with a bigger margin but unfortunately we missed quite a few opportunities to score. We got six PCs but could not convert. Also we are coming into this tournament after the National Games in China and the players are quite exhausted from that event,” said Jin Guo about the narrow win against Oman.
Goal of the Game Award was awarded to Quyang Guan of China
and it was presented by Mir Motaher Hasan (Advisor to Chairman ATN Bangla Limited
HERO of the Match Award was presented to Al Hasni Mahmood by Mamun Ur Raheed (Tournament Secretary, Bangladesh Hockey Federation).
Next Oman play Malaysia October 16 at 15.00 hrs local time while China will Korea on the same day at 17.30 hrs local time.
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