Sohar, Feb 3 – Sohar secured a place in the quarterfinal of HM Cup as they defeated Al Mudhaibi 5-4 in the penalty shootout after a goalless full-time, on Friday at Sohar Stadium. Meanwhile Al Nasr hammered Al Rustaq 5-0, Sur thrashed Al Wusta 3-0 while Al Bashayer got through Samayil 4-3 in the penalty shootout. At Sohar Stadium, Sohar, who were the better side in the game as they took the initiative to score and create threats, found a very organised team in the back which did not allow them to score. Both the teams were very conservative in the first half, but they unleashed their potential in the second half.
Sohar, who were supported by a good number of fans in the crowd, continued their attacking pressure in the second half and they were close to converting some chances especially by Ahmed Malallah and Al Mutasim al Shibli, but Al Mudhaibi goalkeeper Harib al Habsi was in his best form to keep his sheet clean. In contrast with the game, the Yemeni Mohsin Mohammed missed a header that could have given Al Mudhaibi the lead. The game ended with a goalless draw and went to the penalty shootouts automatically as there is no extra time in this stage. The penalty shootouts smiled for Sohar with a 5-4 score.
In the post-match press conference, Al Mudhaibi local manager Anwar al Habsi said: “Our players did very well especially in the second half, both the teams missed a collection of glorious chances.”
About the new completion system, Al Habsi commented:
“Frankly I wonder why did they cancel the extra time, but after this long break the penalty shootouts suit the physical capabilities of our players.
“This is a very important tournament for us, so we wished to start with the league games rather than starting with one leg knockout especially after the long break.
“Sohar deserved the win as they’ve been showing an excellent sustainable performance during the past seasons,” Al Habsi added.
Then he concluded: “Our aim was to stay in the league and the team did a good job in the first part of the league by achieving the 7th place, but again we are facing a two-month break after this loss, so it will be a very challenging season for us.”
On the other hand, Sohar local manager Mohammed Khasib described the game starting with: “Al Mudhaibi is a very disciplined team that has certain tactics and focuses on the counter attacks.
We missed room of chances, that were enough to conclude the game.”
“You can’t show all your capabilities in one game especially when you don’t have many open spaces,” Khasib added.
About the good performance that his team put in, Khasib said: “The friendly games are not comparable with the official games but they impact positively on the performance as we saw. Our players showed a great physical presence in the game after this long break which shows the effort of the fitness preparation staff.” “We are looking for further achievements to please our loyal fans,’’ he concluded.
Jaber Al Ajmi