Islamic Games: Oman end campaign with seven medals
May 22, 2017 | 8:12 PM
by Times News Service
Oman football team pose with their silver medals during the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku on Sunday. Photo - Supplied

Muscat: Oman completed their engagements with seven medals as the curtains came down on Islamic Solidarity Games with a glittering closing ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday.

On the concluded day of the Games, Fatma Al Nabhani failed to add to the Sultanate’s medal tally when she lost her bronze medal match to Uzbekistan’s Sabina Sharipova.

However, the performance of Oman’s under-23 football team, who settled for silver after losing Sunday’s final to hosts Azerbaijan, ensured that the Sultanate’s contingent return home with a total of seven medals, including three silver and four bronze medals.

Oman’s other medals were won by shooters Ismail Al Abri (50m pistol silver), Ismail Al Abri and Wadha Al Balushi (mixed team 10m air pistol silver), Said Al Hashmi (25m rapid fire pistol bronze), Hamed Al Khatri (50m Rifle 3 Position bronze), star sprinter Barakat Al Harthy (100m bronze) and relay team of Salad Al Ajmi, Mohammed Al Sadi, Usama Al Gheilani and Ahmed Al Sadi (4x400m bronze).

In Monday’s women’s singles bronze medal match, Fatma Al Nabhani came up short against Sabina Sharipova and was beaten in straight sets by Uzbek girl 6-2, 6-2.

On Sunday, Hamad Al Azzani-coached Oman under-23 football team fought well but failed to overcome the 2-0 firs-thalf lead they conceded to Azerbaijan and lost the gold medal match by a 2-1 margin.

According to the news posted on the Games official website, Mahir Madatov’s first-half brace saw Azerbaijan to a 2-1 victory over Oman.

The hosts took an early lead in Baku through Madatov, before the forward pounced again in the 27th minute to put his team in total control.

Oman caused a few jitters shortly after the interval when Salah Al Yahyaei halved the deficit with a wonderful goal, but Azerbaijan held on for a famous win.

The country’s 75th gold medal of the Games’ fourth edition moved them seven clear of neighbours Turkey at the top of the overall medals table.

The home side started the better in the early stages and made their dominance count when they forged ahead in the 17th minute.

Some good work down the left-hand side from Aghabala Ramazanov resulted in Madatov finding space in the centre, and the 19-year-old, who made his senior international debut earlier this year, tapped in his first goal of the tournament from close range.

It was always going to be tough for Oman to find a way back into the match, as Azerbaijan had not conceded once in their four previous outings.

The crowd erupted for a second time before the half-hour mark as Madatov struck again.

The teenager was in the perfect position to meet Ramazanov’s low cross with a crisp finish, although Oman captain Abdul Aziz Al Gheilani could have done better than to let the ball slip through his grasp and into the net.

The final was quickly becoming all about one man, but Madatov was centimetres away from a 20-minute hat-trick when his fierce drive from long distance crashed off the crossbar.

With the kick-off time having been moved back by an hour just days before the game, a large portion of the crowd appeared to have left at half-time.

The consequent reduced atmosphere helped galvanise Oman, who hit back in stunning fashion 11 minutes into the second period.

When Al Yahyaei collected the ball 30 yards from goal not a lot seemed on, but he unleashed a ferocious strike that flew into the far top corner and ended Azerbaijan’s run of clean sheets.

The 18-year-old winger could have equalised when he raced clean through on goal just seconds later, if it wasn’t for a good save from home keeper Shakhrudin Magomedaliev.

Yashar Vahabzade’s Azeris did well though to close out the match as Jamalov and veteran centre-back Rashad Sadigov, the most-capped player in the national team’s history, broke down attacks aplenty.

Algeria beat Cameroon 2-0 in the bronze-medal match earlier on Sunday, but the night belonged to Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, the Oman Football Association (OFA) informed that the team will return home on Tuesday when they will be received at the Muscat International Airport by the association officials. The other members of the contingent are also scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

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