Unstoppable Al Suwaiq overcome Saham

Leaders Al Suwaiq came back from behind to beat hosts Saham 3-2 to continue their domination at the top spot with 37 points after week 14 in the Omantel League. Oman national team star Abdulaziz al Muqbali shined in the first minutes of the second half to score two goals in two minutes, giving Al Suwaiq the lead after they were behind by a goal after half-time.

Saham, who crashed out of HM’s Cup last week, showed a good play in the first half and they took the lead in the 22nd minute as Ali al Hashmi finished a brilliant cross from Egyptian winger Mustafa Mahmood (Afreto). Saham players then continued their attempts to score another goal using their ball possession but they failed to reach Fayez al Rushaidi’s net.
However, Saham failed to continue their tactical show in the second half as Balaci’s men entered the scene with a different shape. After few tries, Abdulaziz al Muqbali successfully headed a cross to give Al Suwaiq the equaliser in the 53th minute, before he gave Al Suwaiq the lead for the first time, just one minute later. Hosts Saham could not produce any counter attacks and Al Suwaiq carried on their attack to score the third goal through ex-Saham midfielder Abdullah Ding in the 73rd minute.
Veteran Mohammed al Ghassani scored the second goal for Saham in the stoppage time but that wasn’t enough to avoid their seventh defeat in the competition.
Balaci effect
Al Suwaiq manager Romanian Iile Balaci said the players, who were part of the national team, are slowly getting into rhythm with the club squad.
“We have an issue which clearly showed in our game against Hilal Al Quds and appeared in the first half of today’s game because nine of our players were part of the national team so they were not part of our preparation programme,” Balaci said.
Answering to a question about why the team always comeback in the second half, Balaci told Oman Daily Observer: “Its not always the coach who turns the match. The players have the main role with their eagerness and passion which reflects on their performance on the field.”
“I always try to overcome and correct my team’s mistakes without comparing it with any other team and this will lead us to better level,” Balaci added.
Saham’s Egyptian manager Mohamed Omar said: “The game had many twists because of the physical abilities of the players.”
“The second half clearly showed the weakness and drawbacks of my team and I expected this will happen sooner or later, because my players didn’t train enough especially after the long break their fitness level went down and they lacked the harmony on the ground.”
“Al Suwaiq deserve the win as they are ahead of us in the coherence and the physical abilities, not forgetting that they are competing for the AFC Cup.”
In the other games, experienced striker Mohammed Taqi netted a brace to help nine-time champions Fanja thrash Muscat 4-0 at Seeb Stadium. Abdul Qader Faal gave Fanja the lead in the 37th minute. In the second half, Mohammed Taqi made it 3-0 after scoring two goals in 12 minutes (68-80). Mazin al Sadi scored the fourth to give Fanja an important three points on their way back to the title race.
At Salalah Stadium, Spanish striker Hugo Lopez scored two goals as defending champions Dhofar edged Mirbat 3-2. After a 1-1 first half, Hugo Lopez, who returned to play after a four-month injury, made the score 2-1 for Dhofar in the 49th minute before he made it 3-1 just few minutes later.
At Sohar Stadium, visitors Al Nahda were not able to save their lead for three times when they drew 3-3 with Sohar in a crazy thriller.
The surprise of the day was at Sur Stadium when relegation-threatened Al Salam defeated Al Oruba 2-1. Al Salam took the lead in the 15th minute, thanks to Aziziov. But Yousif Naser equalised for Al Oruba just 10 minutes later. While the game looked to end in a 1-1 draw, Gaga scored the second goal for Al Salam in the stoppage time to give his team three points that moved them to the 12th place with 15 points.

OL Results Round 14
On Wednesday
At Sur Sports Complex
Al Salam bt Al Oruba 2-1
At Sohar Sports Complex
Sur drew with Al Nahda 3-3
At Salalah Youth Complex
Dhofar bt Mirbat 3-2
At Seeb Sports Stadium
Fanja bt Muscat 4-0
At Sohar Sports Complex
Al Suwaiq bt Saham 3-2

Jaber Al Ajmi