Ibri to face Al Oruba in HM Cup semifinal
Eight-time winners Dhofar will take on Al Nahda in a top fixture of the semifinal round of the HM Cup while Al Oruba will face Ibri Club. The draw of the prestigious cup was held on Thursday at the meeting hall of the Seeb Stadium in presence of Faisal al Tamimi from Qatar National Bank, chief guest, and officials of Oman Football Association (OFA).
The first leg of the semifinal matches will be held on February 18 as Al Nahda will host Dhofar at Al Buraimi Sports Complex while Al Oruba will travel to Ibri to play at Ibri Sports Complex. The second leg matches will take place on March 17 as Al Nahda will take off to Salalah to play against Dhofar at Salalah Sports Complex while Al Oruba will host Ibri at Sur Sports Complex.
Ibri surprised all the teams as they arrived to this round for first time in history after taking over Al Shabab in the quarterfinal. The first division league representative will definitely look to reach to the last step of the showpiece cup.
Coach Majeed al Nazawani’s battalion will try to get benefit from the exiting situation of Al Oruba as they struggled in Omantel League and are positioned in the relegation zone. In addition to that, Al Dhahirah team did not suffer any loss in their home venue at Ibri Sports Complex. This factor gives the players more confidence to perform better in the match.
On the other hand, Al Oruba’s target will be to break past their ‘middle-ranking status’ by reaching the final of the coveted cup. Moreover, their 2-1 win against Al Nasr in the second leg on Wednesday will encourage the players to do better in the remaining round of the league and move away from the relegation zone.
Salalah giants Dhofar will be in a tough assignment when they will play against Al Nahda. National team player and top scorer of Dhofar Abdulaziz al Msqbali and his team-mates will aim to clinch many achievements this season including the league crown and HM Cup. Both teams have many national team players. The Buraimi Club has Saad Suhail, Mohammed al Shiba, Ahmed al Kaabi and others in their ranks. Al Nahda’s coach Mohsin Darwish is fully aware this is a golden opportunity for the team to lift the coveted cup after the team reached to the final for three times and finished as runners-up on all three occasions.
Meanwhile, according to the OFA, in the quarterfinal round Ibri fans topped the attendance with a 2,500 turnout, while Al Oruba fans came second with 1,250 and Al Nasr got support of 1,220 fans at the stadium. Abdulaziz al Maqbali is at the top of scorers list with four goals followed by Ali al Rushaidi from Al Nahda and Doeep from Ibri with three goals each.