Omantel Professional League: Arouba held, Suwaiq rallies to edge Fanja

Action from the OPL match between Dhofar and Al Nahda in Salalah on Saturday

It was unlucky 13 for defending champion Al Arouba as well as Fanja as they failed to record victories in the 13th round of the Omantel Professional League (OPL) on Saturday night.

Arouba failed to capitalise on its home ground advantage at the Sur Sports Complex as it was held to a goalless draw by relegation-threatened Muscat, while Al Suwaiq upset Fanja 3-2 in a thriller at the Sohar Sports Complex.

Despite the draw, Arouba hung on to the leader's spot with 25 points after the 13th round, while Fanja managed to keep its second place with 23 points. A tight race is emerging for the third place with three teams - Sohar, Dhofar and Suwaiq - tied with 22 points each. Sohar, however, leads on better goal-difference.


Fanja’s Abdulaziz al Miqbali (centre) is tackled by Suwaiq players

Al Nasr is placed sixth with 21 points. Sohar was denied a push up the standings after it was held to a goalless draw by hosts Salalah on Saturday, while in the last match of the day, hosts Dhofar rallied from a two-goal deficit to edge past Al Nahda 3-2.

At the Sohar Sports Complex, Fanja took an early lead through Mahmood al Hasani with a thirdminute strike and seemed to firmly take the driver's seat with a second goal eight minutes later through Abdulaziz al Miqbali.

Trailing by two goals, Suwaiq staged a remarkable recovery as it blasted two goals in a span of seven minutes (33rd and 41st minutes), both strikes coming from Abdullah Kofi. Mohsin al Ghassani struck the third goal for Suwaiq in the 59th minute and then defended stoutly to deny Fanja an equaliser.

It was a similar story at the Al Saada Sports Complex in Salalah, where Dhofar went down by two goals to the visiting Al Nahda outfit by the second quarter of the match. Mohammed Faraj and Said al Ruzaiqi scored in the 18th and 30th minutes, respectively.

Al Nahda appeared to be on course for a victory as it held firm till the last ten minutes.

However, Said Momin reduced the margin for Dhofar and Hussain al Hadhri's brace in a span of three minutes (89th and 92nd) turned the tables on Nahda in an entertaining finish. In Sur, Muscat missed a penalty in the eighth minute of the match against title holder Arouba as Fenisio failed to convert a spot-kick.

Friday's results: Sur 0 Al Shabab 1, Saham 0 Al Nasr 1, Al Musannah 1 Al Khabourah 0. Standings [after 13th round]: 1 Al Arouba (25 pts), 2 Fanja (23), 3 Sohar (22), 4 Dhofar (22), 5 Al Suwaiq (22), 6 Al Nasr (21), 7 Al Musannah (18), 8 Al Nahda (17), 9 Saham (16), 10 Al Khabourah (14), 11 Al Shabab (12), 12 Sur (9), 13 Muscat (9), 14 Salalah (7).

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