*Domestic heavyweights outplay Bausher 3-0 to clinch His Majesty’s Cup for a record 12th time
* Seeb trounce Sohar 4-1 to claim bronze in the 50th edition of HM’s Cup Hockey Championship
Hockey powerhouse Ahli-Sidab stamped their superiority in style as they clinched the 50th edition of the coveted His Majesty’s Cup Hockey Championship for a record 12th time at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) on Monday.
Last season’s runner-up, Ahli-Sidab proved too good for their rivals Bausher, as they cruised to a 3-0 win to become the sole record-holder of the maximum number of titles.
Earlier in the third-place playoff, Seeb, who have won the prestigious trophy 11 times, had the consolation of a podium finish as they trounced Sohar 4-1.
Ahli-Sidab, under the guidance of former India women’s and junior team coach C R Kumar, went into the summit clash as the fancied and favourite and expectedly dominated the match against Bausher, who were in the final for only the second time.
Coached by Saleh al Farsi, Bausher displayed early hints of a fight and did not give their experienced rivals much of an opening in the early stages of the match and held on for a goalless stalemate at the end of first quarter. However, Ahli-Sidab, who were more aggressive and displayed more attacking intent won a series of penalty corners and soon got the breakthrough in the second quarter from a short corner.
Ahli-Sidab’s Indian recruit Affan Yousuf was in the thick of action and his whipping shot off a penalty corner got the opening goal in the 21st minute.
The goal spurred the blue and green jersey players as they continued to launch forays into the Bausher citadel and went ahead when Aseel al Maini, who had a brace to his credit in the semifinal win against Seeb on Sunday, found the target with a strong flick from the right flank three minutes after the opener.
The winners led 2-0 at the interval and Bausher came back strongly in the third quarter raising hopes of a fightback.
They did earn a couple of penalty corners but failed to pierce the Bausher wall as a goal eluded the yellow shirts.
On the other flank, Bausher’s goalkeeper Amjad al Hassani was a busy man and did stave off Ahli-Sidab’s attacks with few good saves but the failure of finding a goal upfront put paid any hopes for Farsi’s men.
Ahli-Sidab rounded off their title win with one last flourish as Ahmed Sabeel al Balushi found the back of Bausher’s net.
Source: Ashok Purohit from Muscat Daily