Muscat, Oman: Men’s Asian Games 2018 Hockey Qualifiers, 9 – 17 March 2018.
Bangladesh, top ranked team for the event at no. 30, Thailand (world no. 47), Oman and (world no. 32) and Sri Lanka (world no. 38) qualify for the semi-finals of the Men’s Asian Games Qualifiers at the end of the group stages matches. With that, they confirm a place for the main event, Asian Games 2018 Jakarta, which will commence from the 18th of August. With only one more spot to be filled, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, will compete to secure fifth place in the coming two days.
Bangladesh progressed to the semi-finals unbeaten in Pool A. They started their campaign with a 5 – 0 victory over Thailand, followed by a 5 – 1 win over Hong Kong. Hong Kong took the lead in the first quarter when Felix Chi Him Iu scored late in the first quarter. Hong Kong held the top ranked team back until half time. Two quick goals from Ashraf Islam early in the 3rd quarter gave Bangladesh the lead. Bangladesh maintained control throughout the rest of the tournament and scored three more goals in the last quarter to make it 5-1 at the end of the final whistle. In their final group stage match they defeated Afghanistan by 25 unanswered goal, the highest margin of the tournament thus far. Thailand, the second team to progress to the semis from Pool A, fought back strongly after the defeat in the first match, and beat Afghanistan by 23-0. The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Thanop Kampanthong scored all of his 8 tournament goals during this tie. Thailand lead 8-0 at the half-way mark, and then went on to score 7 in the third, while 8 in the final quarter of the match.
In Pool B, host Oman also qualified for the semi finals with a 100% record, along with Sri Lanka who won both of it’s other ties. Oman started the campaign with a narrow victory (4-3) over a stubborn Chinese Taipei. Oman then overcame Sri Lanka with a 5-1 victory followed by a 3-0. The second team to progress, Sri Lanka, won the inaugural match of the tournament against Kazakhstan by 6 goals to nil. After a defeat at the hands of the host, it was a must win for Sri Lanka to ensure a place in the Asian Games 2018. Anuradha Rathnayake and Ishanka Doranegala were up to the task and scored a brace each, after Sri Lanka went down early in the first half of the game. The match ended 4-1 in favor of Sri Lanka.
Knockout round will start from the 15th of March. Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Hong Kong will fight for 5th place to book their ticket for the Asian Games. Bangladesh will take on Sri Lanka in the first Semi-Final, while Oman will play a strong Thailand side in the second.