Defending champions Sur are staring at a shock exit as they were inflicted a 4-1 drubbing by hosts Al Nahda in the first-leg quarterfinal match of the 2019-20 His Majesty’s Cup Football Championship at the Buraimi Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
Elsewhere, eight-time winners Dhofar moved closer to a semifinal berth as they trounced Oman 3-0 at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Wednesday, courtesy a hat-trick by striker Abdulaziz al Miqbali. Dhofar, who are chasing the record of nine titles, won by Fanja, were the better side and deserverdly won the first-leg to take home the advantage in the return-leg against two-time winners, when they play in Salalah next month.
Oman international Miqbali was the star performer for the Salalah giants. He pounced on a poor clearance from an Oman defender to blast the opening goal in the seventh minute. Miqbali had a chance to get his second goal in the 14th minute but took a feeble penalty shot that was saved by Oman goalie Mohammed al Dheeb.
With the spot kick wasted, Dhofar went into the break 1-0. However, soon after resumption, Miqbali made amends to his penalty miss as he extended the margin. He perfectly connected a cross off a counter move from the right flank and then completed his hat-trick with a 65thminute goal, this time, giving finishing touches to a cross from the left flank. Earlier on Wednesday, at the Sur Sports Complex, hosts Al Arouba claimed a narrow 1-0 win over Al Nasr in a clash that featured former champions.
While Al Arouba have won the prestigious title four times, the last of which came in 2014-15 edition, Al Nasr have won the crown five times. They last won the title in 2017-18. Yousuf al Mukhaini scored the only goal in the 31st minute of the match as Al Nasr defenders made a mess of a simple aerial clearance to leave Mukhani to just the tap the ball in past a diving Nasr goalkeeper.
On Tuesday at the Buraimi Sports Complex, Oman international Saad Suhail was in the thick of action for the winning team, opening the floodgates for his club in the 18thminute against the reigning champions. Ali al Rashdi soon extended the lead to 2-0 with a strike five minutes later. Sur raised hopes of a fightback with a goal at the stroke of half-time through Abdulrehman al Muqaimi.
However, Saad Suhail got his second in the 63rdminute to take the game away from the holders. Rashdi completed the rout with the team’s fourth goal in the 83rd minute. In another quarterfinal match played at the Ibri Sports Complex on Tuesday, hosts Ibri managed to hold Al Shabab to a goalless draw. Sur will host Al Nahda in the return-leg on January 18, while Shabab will take on Ibri on January 17, the same day Dhofar face Oman. Al Nasr play Al Arouba on Jan 18.
The 2019-2020 edition has already witnessed the exits of nine-time champions Fanja and former multiple winners, Al Suwaiq, Seeb and Saham.