Muscat: Nine-time winners Fanja began their Omantel Professional League (OPL) title defence in style with a thumping 3-1 victory over promoted Jalan on the first day of the new league season at Sur Sports Complex on Saturday.
On a day when Dhofar, who will also be aiming for a record 10th league title in the 2016-17 season, and Oman recorded contrasting victories, Fanja were given a sensational start by international striker Abdulaziz Al Maqbali, who entered the record books by completing the first hat-trick of the season.
Al Maqbali’s three goals came in quick succession as Fanja took a 3-0 lead into the break. The Omani international opened the score in the 10th minute and doubled the lead in the 12th minute before completing his hat-trick in the 24th minute.
Jalan managed to pull one back in the 78th minute through Mohammed Al Sawadi.
Earlier, Oman Club took on three-time winners Suwaiq at Sohar Sports Complex and managed to record a solitary goal victory thanks to a 73rd minute goal by Khalid Al Hajri.
Dhofar, on the other hand, received an early jolt before overcoming Muscat by a 2-1 margin at the Salalah Sports Complex.
Dhofar were stunned as early as the sixth minute when Mohammed Al Habsi gave Muscat the lead.
However, the hosts maintained their composure and kept fighting for the possession. Though they failed to find the equaliser in the first half, two quick goals in the second session saved the day for Dhofar.
Abdullah Fawaz struck in the 66th minute and Said Al Ruzaiqi score the match-winner three minutes to ensure Dhofar started their campaign with full points.
The first week action continues on Sunday when Al Nasr will host Al Shabab at Salalah Sports Complex, Rustaq square off against Al Arouba at Seeb Sports Stadium and Al Khabourah play Al Nahda at Sohar Sports Complex.