Only three clubs have defended the His Majesty’s Cup — Fanja, Dhofar and Seeb. The first two are the tournament’s most successful teams with 9 and 8 wins respectively. Saham look to put themselves in such esteemed company as they vie to qualify for the semifinals in the His Majesty’s Cup after their successful first leg in the quarterfinals. It was late drama that caused Saham to win the last time, but they seek to leave nothing to the last minute this time around with a solid 2-0 home victory against Jalan Club.
Jalan, on the other hand, are living a historic season, in their first season in the top flight. Their struggles in the league are well documented as they found it is isn’t easy in top flight football but they are quite capable of showing a surge in the second half. The fact that despite a relatively thin squad and not as much experience, they have had a fantastic showing in the His Majesty’s Cup so far.
As a team that has never won the prestigious trophy — they are looking to make history in more ways than one. Overturning a 2-0 deficit against the reigning champions is no small task — but Jalan have showed in the past that they can achieve their goal despite the hardest odds.
The quarterfinal second leg matches will be held in February.
FANJA, SUWAIQ EYE REVIVAL
Last season, Abdulaziz al Maqbali buried a second in the back of the net to guarantee Fanja their league title whilst piling misery on Suwaiq — who, like their opponents on the pitch that evening, were one positive result from the title.
It was a crushing blow, to come that close, but Suwaiq have a long history and were expected to bounce back and come back stronger in the following season.
They have not met that expectation this season as they sit 11th at the halfway point of the season and will look to make good in the His Majesty’s Cup.
Their opponents Al Salam on the other hand — are living the dream. They are the only side remaining in the competition who are not top tier. They have everything to play for and nothing to lose.
Suwaiq got the better in the first leg, edging their opponents out by a goal to get a crucial away victory. It means Salam have to go to Suwaiq and beat them on their own turf but they will be buoyed by the fact that they only have a single goal deficit to overcome.
Both teams are tight at the back and the focus for the minnows despite their disadvantage in the second leg will be to keep a cleansheet and score on the break.
KHABOURAH, BAUSHER FACE UPHILL TASK
Making the quarterfinals this season has shown that last season’s final appearance was no accident for Al Khabourah. However, they face an uphill task to make it to the semifinals after Dhofar put 3 past them in the first leg quarterfinal. It is fortunate that they managed to sneak in an away goal, lest their woes would have been as bad as Bausher. They need 2 goals and a cleansheet or a similar variant of scores to go through to the semifinals.
Bausher also face an uphill struggle to get back into the tie after losing out by 3 goals to Oman Club in the first leg — a home leg for them. The third away goal came at a time when the game seemed lost, but the damage limited. Oman Club scoring in the very last throes of the game now mean that Bausher will have to overcome a 3 goal deficit in their away leg — which is no mean feat.