Oman round-up: Oman loses to hosts to settle for silver

Oman's football team missed out on a gold medal as Mahir Madatov's first-half brace saw hosts 

Azerbaijan secure a 2-1 victory in the Islamic Solidarity Games football final at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium on Sunday.

The result ensured Oman yet another silver medal as the Games concluded on Monday. The Omani contingent finished with a total haul of seven medals in Baku - bagging three silver and four bronze medals. Among 41 nations, Oman settled for the 28th position.

In the football final in Baku, the hosts took an early lead through Madatov, before the forward pounced again in the 27th minute.

Oman caused a few jitters shortly after the interval when Salah al Yahyaei halved the deficit with a wonderful goal, but Azerbaijan held on for a win.

The country's 75th gold medal of the Games' fourth edition moved it seven clear of neighbour Turkey at the top of the overall medals table.

The home side started the better in the early stages and made its dominance count when it forged ahead in the 17th minute.

Some good work down the left-hand side from Aghabala Ramazanov resulted in Madatov finding space in the centre, and the 19 year old, who made his senior international debut earlier this year, tapped in his first goal of the tournament from close range.

It was always going to be tough for Oman to find a way back into the match, as Azerbaijan had not conceded once in its four previous outings.

The crowd erupted for a second time before the half-hour mark as Madatov struck again.

The teenager was in the perfect position to meet Ramazanov's low cross with a crisp finish, although Oman captain Abdulaziz al Gheilani could have done better than to let the ball slip through his grasp and into the net.

The final was quickly becoming all about one man, but Madatov was just centimetres away from a 20-minute hat-trick when his fierce drive from long distance crashed off the crossbar.

With the kick-off time having been moved back by an hour just days before the game, a large portion of the crowd appeared to have left at half-time.

The consequent reduced atmosphere helped galvanise Oman, which hit back in stunning fashion 11 minutes into the second period.

When Yahyaei collected the ball 30 yards from goal, not a lot seemed on, but he unleashed a ferocious strike that flew into the far top corner and ended Azerbaijan's run of clean sheets.

The 18 year old winger could have equalised when he raced clean through on goal just seconds later, if it wasn't for a good save from home keeper Shakhrudin Magomedaliev.

Yashar Vahabzade's Azeris did well though to close out the match as Jamalov and veteran centreback Rashad Sadigov, the most-capped player in the national team's history, broke down attacks aplenty.

Algeria beat Cameroon 2-0 in the bronze-medal match earlier on Sunday, but the night belonged to Azerbaijan.

Oman coach Hamad al Azzani was satisfied with the runner-up finish. "All in all, I'm content with the level of organisation that we showed during the matches here," he said. "We only had 16 players when we first arrived, just days before the tournament started, and we did well to get as far as we did."

Sheikh Salim al Wahaibi, the Oman Football Association’s chairman, lauded the team for finishing with a silver, saying, “I congratulate the team for winning the silver medal. The players as well as the coaching staff performed really well in Baku, where the competition was top-class.”

Fatma flops again

Defending champion Fatma al Nabhani had yet another poor outing in Baku as the Omani tennis player failed to collect the bronze medal on Monday.

The Muscat-based player lost to Uzbekistan's Sabina Sharipova 2-6, 2-6 in the bronze-medal contest.

Fatma had failed to reach the title round of the tennis event on Sunday when the Omani star went down to higher-ranked Ayla Aksu of Turkey, losing 5-7, 1-6 in the semifinals.

Fatma, ranked No 426 in the world, then took on Sharipova, ranked No 139, in Monday's bronze-medal playoff.

ASIAN BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Four medals for Oman

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - Oman's national bodybuilding team won four medals in the 51st Asian Bodybuilding Championships in Mongolia on Sunday. The championships took place from May 18-21.

For Oman, Faisal al Mata'ani won silver in the 90kg category, Gamal al Hamdani won bronze in the 55kg event, Mohammed al Ajmi won bronze in the 90kg contest and Abdullah al Rahbi won bronze in the 95kg category.

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