Omantel League: Suwaiq seals fourth title
Former champion and favourite Al Suwaiq secured its fourth domestic football league title on Monday at the Sohar Sports Complex with an authoritative 4-2 win over Al Salam.
The victory for Hakeem Shaker's boys in Sohar ensured the Omantel League crown as it garnered a total of 57 points from 22 games and led Al Shabab, which was a distant second with 40 points ahead of its 22nd round game against Al Arouba, scheduled to be played later at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Monday.
With just four rounds remaining in the league and a maximum of 12 points at stake, Suwaiq’s win helped it take an unassailable 14-point lead over Shabab to signal its recent domination in the top-flight league.
With four Oman internationals in its ranks, including 23rd Gulf Cup-winning team hero and goalkeeper Faiz al Rusheidi, strikers Abdulaziz al Miqbali, Khalid al Hajri and Ali al Busaidi, Suwaiq made up for its disappointing exit from the AFC Cup, the second-tier continental club competition, where it lost all its games.
Following the dismal AFC Cup campaign, former Iraq coach Hakeem Shaker was handed over the reins on March 26. The experienced coach was instrumental in Suwaiq's seven-match unbeaten streak that was capped with the crown on Monday.
Suwaiq won six of its games under the Iraqi veteran while it drew once, a goalless draw against Al Nahda on May 6.
Suwaiq’s fourth crown came after a gap of four years with the last title won in 2012-2013 season. Prior to that, Suwaiq had captured back-to-back crowns with its maiden title in 2009-2010 season.
In another match at the Seeb Sports Stadium, nine-time winner Fanja remained in drop zone as it lost 2-3 to Al Mudhaibi, which moved into the safety zone. Fanja's defeat pushed it to 13th place as it was stuck with 23 points, a point above bottom-placed Saham, which takes on ten-time champion Dhofar in a late game.
Elsewhere, another Salalah giant and His Majesty's Cup winner, Al Nasr, strengthened its hold on the third spot with a solitary goal win over Mirbat in Salalah.
Following the win, Al Nasr has 34 points and it increased its gap over fourth-placed Al Nahda (30), which was shocked at home in Buraimi as it lost 1-3 to Muscat.
Also, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC), Sohar was held to a 2-2 draw by Oman. The draw did no good for Oman as it remained in relegation zone with 25 points.
Sohar remains in mid-table with 26 points, the same number of points as Al Mudhaibi and Mirbat, but ahead on better goal-difference.