Omantel Professional League: Dhofar trims Shabab’s lead

Action from the OPL match between Rustaq and Dhofar at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Saturday

Table-topper Al Shabab lost an opportunity to extend its lead in the 2016-2017 Omantel Professional League (OPL) on Friday after it was held to a 1-1 draw by Sohar at the Sohar Sports Complex.

The away game draw for Shabab followed by a 2-1 win for nine-time winner Dhofar over Al Rustaq at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Saturday has set the ball rolling for a close finish to the domestic title with the Salalah giant trimming the margin at the top to just two points.

Shabab's Brazilian import Loks was once again the saviour for the team as he scored his tenth goal of the season to help Salim Sultan’s team share the spoils of the match.

Shabab, which took over as the OPL leader in December, had maintained its grip on the top but the latest draw has opened a small window for Dhofar to eye a record tenth crown.

Hosts Sohar battled gamely against Shabab in the first half but both teams failed to break the deadlock till the breather.

And it was Sohar that took the lead in the 60th minute when Antohi scored.

With less than five minutes to go, an upset seemed to be on the cards till Sohar conceded a penalty in the dying minutes.

A cool and calm Loks successfully converted the spot kick to ensure his team’s spot at the top.

Dhofar matched Shabab’s number of 12 wins this season on Saturday with its victory over relegation-threatened Rustaq.

Coached by Spain’s Andres Garcia since February, Dhofar took the lead in the tenth minute at the Seeb Sports Stadium through Oman international Qasim Said.

An own goal by Rustaq’s Sedrik in the 26th minute game put Dhofar in driver’s seat as it cruised to win despite a late goal from Rustaq.

Al Arouba stayed at third place after its 2-0 win over Oman at the Sur Sports Complex on Friday while defending champion Fanja was held to a 1-1 draw by Saham in an exciting encounter at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Saturday.

Fanja and Saham featured number of national team players in their respective starting XI and it was star striker Abdulaziz al Miqbali who put Fanja ahead in the 19th minute.

However, Mohsin Jawhar cancelled the lead for defending His Majesty's Cup winner in the 65th minute.

Standings [21 rounds]: 1 Al Shabab (43 points), 2 Dhofar (41), 3 Al Arouba (38), 4 Al Nahda (32), 5 Al Nasr (31), 6 Fanja (30), 7 Sohar (30), 8 Al Suwaiq (28), 9 Muscat (25), 10 Saham (25), 11 Al Khabourah (22), 12 Oman (20), 13 Al Rustaq (16), 14 Jalan (15).

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