Al Suwaiq end first phase with close win

MUSCAT, Nov 28 – Al Suwaiq withstood a late fightback by Sohar 3-2 to keep their six-point cushion at the top of the Omantel League as the first phase of the football competition ended with the 13th round matches on Tuesday.
Al Shabab posted a narrow 1-0 win over Oman Club to remain in second spot with 28 points. Omar al Malki’s early goal at the eighth minute was the only goal of the match at the Seeb Sports Stadium.
At Sohar Sports Complex, Al Nasr blanked Saham 2-0 to remain third on 24 points.
In the early match at Sohar, Al Suwaiq had the proceedings under their control with Harib al Saidi netting in the ninth minute and Mohammed al Musallami increasing the lead in the 26th minute.
However, it was the third goal in the 66th minute by star national striker Abdulaziz al Muqbali which proved to be crucial as Sohar staged a dramatic fightback in the final quarter of the second half.
Mohammed al Ajmi scored first for the home side in the 79th minute and three minutes later Ahmed al Ajmi reduced the margin by another goal.
Though Sohar, with great support from the home crowd, tried hard to pull back an equaliser but some chances went a begging.
Dhofar in relegation zone
It was a forgetful first phase for defending champions Dhofar as they fell to the relegation zone with a 1-0 loss against black-horses Al Mudhaibi. Aahd al Hudaifi stunned the Salalah giants with a last-minute goal.
Dhofar only have 13 points from as many matches and stay 11th in the table just ahead of Mirbat only on goal difference.
Oman Club and Al Salam (both on 12 points) complete the bottom of the table.
Former champions Fanja managed to stay one point ahead of relegation with a 1-1 draw against fifth-placed Al Nahda (19 points). Moatasem Saif al Shibli rescued Fanja with an injury-time equaliser after Al Nahda were almost nearing a 1-0 win through a Admeer goal in the 69th minute at Seeb Stadium.
Elsewhere, fourth-placed Al Oruba stamped their performance in the first phase with 2-1 win over Muscat.
At Sur Sports Complex, Yousif al Mukhaini (16th minute) and Mazin Sadi (26th) netted for Al Oruba. Mahmood returned one goal for Muscat in the 85th minute.

Anuroop Athiparambath