(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat Club's reign on the Ministry's Shield handball crown ended on Monday as Ahli-Sidab beat the two-time champion 27-25 in the final of the third edition at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex to clinch the title.
Ahli-Sidab began strongly in the opening half and led 8-4 at its halfway mark. Soon after, Muscat rallied back through Nasser al Tamtami, who slammed in three goals in just two minutes to reduce the margin to 7-8.
Ahli-Sidab skipper Imad al Dughaishi then made a timely effort for his team to increase the lead, taking the score to 10-8. But Muscat was in no mood to give up, making it 10-10 in the 24th minute through a seven-metre throw from Saeed al Hassani. However, Ahli-Sidab went 14-11 up just as the first half ended.
Ahli-Sidab began the second half well, maintaining a healthy lead. A gritty Muscat steadily clawed its way back into the contest, though, as Tamtami cut down Ahli-Sidab's lead and the scoreline read 22-21.
Soon after, Tamtami struck to draw level for Muscat, making it 23-23 and two minutes after that, Muscat took the lead for the first time at 24-23.
The match went into the dying minutes with both sides having a clear chance to win.
Crucially, Hani al Dughaishi gave Ahli-Sidab a match-shaping two-point lead in the 27th minute. In response, Muscat desperately tried to find a goal or two, but was repeatedly denied by Ahli-Sidab goalie Muneer al Balushi.
Muscat did close down Ahli-Sidab's lead to 26-25 at one stage, thanks to a seven-metre throw from Saeed al Hosni. But Hani scored the final goal of the night to help Ahli-Sidab complete the win.
Earlier, Seeb won the third-place playoff 23-14 against Dhofar at the same venue.
Khalil al Mashari, Ahli-Sidab coach, said after the title win, ''This win is the result of three years of hard work. I must say Muneer was the star of the match; without him this win wouldn't have been possible. Overall, it has been a good team effort.''
H E Sheikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, the Minister of Civil Service, gave away the prizes in the presence of Sheikh Sultan al Hosni, the Oman Handball Association chairman.
The national women's team that came third in a GCC meet in Kuwait recently was also felicitated at the awards ceremony.Other winners: Best goalkeeper:
Muneer al Balushi (Ahli-Sidab), best player:
Badar al Harthy (Ahli-Sidab), most promising team: