FANJA LIFTS INAUGURAL MAZDA CUP

His Majesty’s Cup champion Fanja edged past Dhofar in a penalty shootout to clinch the inaugural Mazda Professional Cup at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Thursday.

Both the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra-time. In the ensuing shootout, Fanja had the better of the Salalah giant, winning 8-7.

Earlier, Dhofar took an early lead when striker Hamood al Saadi found the net in the 27th minute.

And just as it appeared that Dhofar will lay hands on the trophy, Fanja equalised in the 90th minute when former Oman international Mohammed Mubarak converted a spot-kick.

The Mazda Cup was launched in November last year by the Oman Football Association (OFA) in place of the previously-held OPL Cup.

All the 14 clubs in the Omantel Professional League (OPL) took part in the three-month long tournament.

The competition featured 49 matches and was played entirely on a league-cum knockout basis.

After the OPL, it is the second instance of a corporate group title-sponsoring a top domestic football competition in Oman. It underlines the steady progress the OFA has made towards roping in the private sector’s support for promoting the game.

The Mazda Cup is a four-year deal between Towell Auto Centre (TAC), the sole dealer of Mazda in Oman and the OFA.

As part of the deal, all the 14 OPL clubs received a Mazda vehicle on a four-year lease.

Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy, the OFA chairman, and Riyadh Ali Sultan, director of TAC, were present to hand over the winner’s trophy.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily