AHLI-SIDAB RETAINS TITLE

By: Ashok Purohit

Ahli-Sidab edged past His Majesty’s Cup winner Al Nasr 2-1 to retain the Oman Hockey League (OHL) title at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Sunday.

Hassan al Qasmi struck the winner in the 49th minute of the match after Al Nasr had taken the lead in the third quarter, thanks to a 34th-minute strike from Mahmoud Farooq.

Ahli-Sidab, coached by former Oman coach K K Poonacha, restored parity through the experienced Samir Huleis in the 38th minute. The result turned out to be sweet revenge for Ahli-Sidab, which had lost to Al Nasr 2-4 in the HM’s Cup final in December last year in a penalty shootout after the teams were locked 2-2 in regulation-time.

Speaking to Muscat Daily after the win, Poonacha said, “The boys played really well in the final quarter. We deserved the title after today’s performance.”

Later, H E Sheikh Muhanna bin Saif al Maawali, the Wali of Bausher, presented the winner’s trophy to the Ahli-Sidab players in the presence of Oman Hockey Association officials.

The tournament itself was plagued by a low turnout of clubs with only seven teams taking part in the national league. Of them, five sides – Al Nasr, Dhofar, Al Ittihad, Salalah and Mirbat – came from the Dhofar region. The Muscat region was represented by Ahli-Sidab and Seeb.

The final was a repeat of last year’s summit clash when Ahli-Sidab lifted the title after a 3-2 penalty-shootout win.

Earlier in the evening, Seeb edged Salalah out 4-1 in a penalty shootout to clinch the third spot after the scoreline was locked at 3-3 in regulation-time.

Ahli-Sidab’s Indian player Puliyanda Lokesh Thimanna was the top-scorer with eight goals.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily