MUSCAT, OCT 11
Oman hockey giants Ahli Sidab outclassed Seeb 4-1 to clinch their seventh Oman Hockey League (OHL) title at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Monday night.
Shaikh Ayman bin Ahmed al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports Company, was the chief guest for the final in presence of Oman Hockey Association (OHA) Chairman Dr Marwan bin Juma al Juma, former OHA chief Talib al Wahaibi, officials from OHA, Oman Olympic Committee and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and representatives of the clubs.
Sohar finished third in the league after edging Al Nasr in the third place play-off earlier. Sohar and Al Nasr were one-all at full time and in the ensuing penalty shoot-out the defending His Majesty Cup hockey champions prevailed 3-0.
In the semifinals, Ahli Sidab thrashed Sohar 6-0 while Seeb edged Al Nasr 2-1 on Sunday.
In the final, Ahli Sidab controlled the match from the start and made some good moves towards the end of the first quarter. Seeb defended well and had to wait until the 11th minute to make their first organised attack.
In the 13th minute, Mohammed bin Hassan al Balushi’s firm shot just went wide as Ahli Sidab threatened the Seeb goal. The opening quarter ended goalless.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Asaad bin Ali al Qasimi struck the opening goal for Ahli Sidab after a nice move through the right flank.
Ahli Sidab pressed hard after the goal and their efforts bore fruit in the 25th minute when Akram al Muaini netted the second goal to make it 2-0 at the half-time.
The third quarter also began with Ahli Sidab taking control to earn their first penalty corner of the match.
Though Seeb defended the penalty corner well they had no answer for a brilliant strike from Salah al Saadi in the 28th minute as Ahli Sidab cushioned their lead to 3-0.
The third goal awakened the Seeb unit and they earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 40th minute.
Muhammad Ateeq almost pulled one back for Seeb but with a dangerous move inside the D but the Ahli defence and goalkeeper thwarted the goal.
In the next moment, Indian recruit Pratap Lakra found a way through Ahli defence to score the first goal for Seeb with a strong left-hand shot.
Buoyed by the goal, Seeb put more pressure on the Ahli Sidab defence and goalkeeper but were unable to change the scoreline.
In a counter-attack, Ahli Sidab threatened the Seeb defence but the goalkeeper stood firm.
The Seeb custodian made some series of saves to avoid another goal. Another close attempt by Salah al Saadi was also warded off bravely by Seeb goalkeeper to keep the 3-1 scoreline at the end the quarter.
The fourth and last quarter saw some desperate attempts by Seeb players to reduce the margin as time ticked away.
Ahli Sidab kept their composure to defend well in some close moments.
Ahli Sidab players showed their class in a brilliant goal in the 57th minute, which came after series of one-touch passes from the middle. Akram al Muaini netted his second goal in the process to confirm the title for Ahli Sidab.
Indian player Pardeep Singh emerged the top-scorer with 11 goals for Ahli Sidab.
The player who was in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia, told Oman Observer that the Oman Hockey League was brilliantly competed by the Omani clubs.
“All the matches were of good standard and technical level. It was a great experience playing with the Omani players who are improving day by day,” the forward, who is in his first visit to Oman, said.
The lanky player, who hails from Jalandhar in Punjab said the match against Bausher in which he scored three goals was the best for him in the tournament.
Ibrahim al Hosni of Ahli Sidab was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament and Mohammed al Lawati of Seeb claimed the best player of the league award.
The meeting was officiated by Ali Muhammad Daoud as the chief referee, assisted by Saleh al Balushi as the first referee, Khalil al Balushi as the second referee and Abdullah al Shatri as the third referee.
AHLI COACH ELATED
Ahli Sidab head coach Khalid al Riyami said it was a creditable moment.
“Winning the Oman Hockey League is a great moment. It is our seventh OHL title in the 13th edition. The players have put a good performance,” Al Riyami said.
Khalid al Riyami said he was satisfied with the win as it required perfect execution of plans by the players.
“It was a tactical match. Our players were able to keep their composure and execute our plans,” the veteran coach added.
Seeb coach Khalid al Raisi said his young players tried their best for a comeback in the final.
“We had back-to-back games for three straight days. The players were tired after a big semifinal with Al Nasr. However our young squad is capable of achieving good results and in the final against the experienced Ahli Sidab players the boys showed the glimpses of their talent,” Al Raisi said.