Omantel Professional League set for a thrilling end

A file photo of action from an OPL match between Fanja and Suwaiq

The curtains are expected come down on the 2015-2016 Omantel Professional League (OPL) in thrilling fashion on Sunday evening with as many as three clubs in line for the coveted title.

Eight-time winner Fanja will lock horns with another multiple champion, Al Suwaiq, in a virtual final, with the victor straightaway taking the crown.

But if that game ends in a draw, then Al Arouba could dash to the title with a victory against Muscat. Fanja plays Suwaiq at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, and Arouba faces Muscat at the Seeb Sports Stadium.

Both the games are scheduled for a 6pm start. After 25 rounds in the 14-club competition, table-topper Fanja and second-placed Suwaiq have 48 points each, while Arouba, on No 3, has 47 points.

Fanja leads with a healthy goal-difference of 20 as against Suwaiq's 12. In the event of Arouba failing to win, Fanja would just need a draw to seal a title win. However, for Suwaiq, nothing short of a victory will help it clinch the crown.

Fanja in sight of Dhofar’s record

A title win for Fanja would put the club alongside Dhofar for having won the league a record nine times. Fanja had last won the domestic crown in 2012, while Suwaiq won its third title a year later.

The Batinah region club won its first crown in 2010 and retained it in 2011, only to see its hat-trick bid halted by Fanja.

Fanja has had a glorious history in the domestic league with the club having the honour of claiming the first edition of the 1976-1977 league.

Its dominance was established in the mid-eighties when it won three successive titles, from 1986-1988.

The club also boasts of a maximum number of His Majesty's Cup titles - it won nine times, having last triumphed in 2014. Meanwhile, a top OPL official informed that match between already-relegated Salalah, playing away at Sohar, will begin at 8.45pm at the Sohar Sports Complex.

Speaking ahead of the concluding day's action, Sheikh Shabib al Hosni, the chief executive of the OPL, said, “All eyes will be on the two games - Fanja- Suwaiq and Arouba-Muscat. To have a long league end in such an exciting manner is a credit to the clubs and its players. In the beginning, there were a lot of challenges in running the league, but I am glad it is finally coming to an end in a thrilling manner.”

Hosni said the organisers are bracing to rush the winner's shield either to the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex or the Seeb Sports Stadium, as the situation will demand on Sunday night.

Sayyid Khalid al Busaidy, the chairman of the Oman Football Association (OFA), will hand over the shield.

Standings: 1 Fanja (48 pts), 2 Al Suwaiq (48), 3 Al Arouba 47, 4 Dhofar (38), 5 Al Nahda (37), 6 Al Nasr (34), 7 Saham (33), 8 Sohar (32), 9 Al Khabourah (29), 10 Al Musannah (28), 11 Al Shabab (28), 12 Muscat (27), 13 Sur (21; relegated), 14 Salalah (14; relegated).

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