Bangladesh end WC qualifying campaign with a 0-3 loss to Oman
Bangladesh suffered a 0-3 defeat to Oman in their final fixture of the World Cup Qualifying campaign at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.
The overall sixth defeat in eight matches meant Bangladesh finished bottom of Group E with only two points, four less than fourth-placed Afghanistan and five points less than India, who qualified for Asian Cup Qualifiers directly after finishing third on the back of a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in the day's first match.
The charges of Jamie Day will now have to go through the play-off path in a bid to qualify for the Asian Cup group stage, a stage Bangladesh failed to reach in the previous edition.
The men in red and green were expectedly under tremendous pressure throughout even though Branko Ivankovic brought nine changes in Oman's playing eleven that beat Afghanistan 2-1 last Friday. The fact that Bangladesh conceded 11 corners just in the first half of the game shows Oman's dominance.
Oman, who are 104 places ahead of Bangladesh in FIFA ranking, simply had superior ball possession throughout the match. Oman kept Bangladeshi defenders on their toes by using both flanks and breaking the two-line defensive wall time and again before succeeding in the 22nd minute.
Bangladesh, missing the services of four regular players including captain Jamal Bhuiyan, looked shaky to defend deep, allowing the opponent players to exchange more passes in the attacking third to break the backline.
The men in red and green survived from conceding in the 18th minute when Mohammad Ibrahim cleared a goal-bound header from Amjad Al Harthi off the goalline after keeper Anisur Rahman Zico failed to grip a corner.
However, the charges of Day could not stop Oman four minutes later when Khalid Khalifa Al-Hajri, availing a through pass, controlled the ball nicely to square it for unmarked Mohammed Mubarak Al-Ghafri, who just had to tap in from inside the six-yard box to break Bangladesh's resistance.
After conceding the opener, Bangladesh altered their defensive approach a bit and came close to leveling the margin in the 29th minute when left-back Yeasin Arafat saw his goal-bound header brilliantly tipped over by goalkeeper Faiyz Issa.
Surviving the close call, Oman created two more effective moves with keeper Zico thwarting a Mohsin Al Khalidi free-kick for a corner in the 37th minute while the far post denied Ahmed Al Kaabi to save Bangladesh from conceding a second goal just before half-time.
After resumption, Oman kept their tempo intact to make the Bangladesh backline helpless. Jameel Al Yahmadi saw his placing shot go narrowly wide with keeper Zico beaten in the 56th minute before Khalid Khalifa Al Hajri struck a brace in the 61st and 81st minutes due to sloppy defending by Bangladesh.
The margin could have widened had Oman not rattled the crossbar twice and had Ibrahim not made another goal-line save in the second half.
The only satisfaction for Day's men was that they could avert the humiliation they suffered in the reverse fixture by losing 1-4 in November, 2019.