Dhofar clinch historic ninth HM Cup crown

MUSCAT, Nov 29 –
Dhofar were crowned HM Cup football champions after beating Al Orouba 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in 120 minutes of playing time at the Rustaq Sports Complex on Sunday night.
The victory meant the Salalah giant sealed their ninth HM Cup football title as they are the title holders of the 1976,1980, 1981, 1990, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2020 editions.
HH Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, was the chief guest of the match in presence of dignitaries and officials. The chief guest gave away the trophy to the Dhofar captain and gold medals to the HM Cup champion players.
Coming into the final, after an impressive show in the knockout stages, Dhofar were clearly the better team in the final.
The first scoring attempt registered in the match was from Dhofar as Qasim Said received a golden pass from Salah al Yahyaei and his shot was saved by Al Orouba’s goalkeeper Abdulaziz Mubarak in the 6th minute.
Rasheed Jaber’s men continued seeking their opening goal through pressure from the strikers Lopez, Salah al Yahyaei.
Al Oruba’s defence stood tough and broke all the attempts led by Dhofar attack side. Al Orouba’s coach Haitham al Alawi prefered to lie deep in the back and launch quick counter-attacks.
Both team players spirit were very high with preference for Dhofar as they delivered top quality match within 45 minutes but it was missing a goal. The international referee Omar al Yaqoobi ended the first half with a goalless draw. The second half started with more intent from both teams to score the first goal. The referee showed a red card to Dhofar’s Ahmed al Khamisi for his strong tackles in the beginning of the second half.
Coach Rasheed Jaber decided for the first substitution as he replaced Qasim Said with Abdul Salam Amer. Few minutes later, the referee showed another red card to Al Orouba’s captain Ahmed Saleem for his strong interaction in the 61st minute.
After the missing of the team members, coach Haitham al Alawi joined Omran al Farsi with Fayez Jameel in the 65th minute. Dhofar players faced difficulty to penetrate the box as the defenders Khalid Saleh and Hamed Khamis broke all the attempts. Lopez Hugo was very close to score the opening goal for Dhofar as he was inside the box and received a pass from Motaz Saleh but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper Abdulaziz Mubarak in the 80th minute.
The fourth referee Ishaq al Subhi added three minutes as additional time but there was no change in the result and the match extended for extra time.
Al Orouba’s Mohammed al Mukhaini missed a golden opportunity to score as he went inside the box and hit a ball but was saved by the national team and Dhofar goalkeeper Fayez al Rushaidi in the 109 minute.
Al Orouba’s players were the better as they controlled the game from the middle and created many attempts. Finishing was the real challenge for both the teams as they struggled to break the deadlock. The Al Oruoba’s goalkeeper saved another opportunity from Abdullah Fawaz who kicked the ball strongly.

Adil Al Balushi