2018 MEN'S ASIAN GAMES QUALIFIER: BANGLADESH ROUTS HONG KONG 5-1; THAILAND MAULS AFGHANISTAN 23-0.
Fancied Bangladesh sent strong signals of its intention to vie for the top honours of the 2018 Men's Asian Games Qualifier when it routed Hong Kong 5-1 in a Pool A match at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) on Sunday.
The second successive victory put the FIH world No 30-ranked Bangladesh on top of the pool with six points. Following its comprehensive victories, it looks certain to top the pool with the concluding league game against Afghanistan on Tuesday.
In the second game of Pool A on Sunday, a rampant Thailand pulverised Afghanistan 23-0 to jump to the second spot.
Both Thailand and Hong Kong have a win each against Afghanistan, but the Thais, knowing that only a huge win over Afghanistan will secure them a second spot, rained goals against its hapless rivals to enjoy a better goal-difference from Hong Kong. On Friday, Hong Kong had trounced Afghanistan 19-1.
However, the Thais went on a goal-riot to score four goals in the first quarter and then another four in the next to go into the halftime, leading 8-0. Thanop Kampanthong slammed in four goals in the third quarter as Thailand went into the final quarter, leading 15-0. Kampanthong hit two more as the Thais blasted another eight for a massive win.
Earlier on Sunday, Hong Kong took a surprise lead against Bangladesh in the 15th minute when Felix Chi Him Iu converted a penalty corner. Hong Kong managed to defend its goal till the third quarter when it conceded a penalty stroke in the 33rd minute. Ashraful Islam scored and then put his team ahead two minutes later through a penalty corner.
Roman Sarkar added a third off a penalty corner soon after the start of the final quarter before captain Rashel Mahmud and Milon Hossain struck two goals in the final two minutes.
On Monday, Oman takes on Kazakhstan with a win securing its top spot in Pool B. It would mean that Tahir Zaman's men would avoid likely Pool A topper Bangladesh in the semifinals. Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka meet in the other game.