Kuala Lumpur: Al Seeb Club became the first side from Oman to win the AFC Cup on Saturday as Rasheed Al Yafai’s outfit handed Kuala Lumpur City FC a 3-0 defeat at Bukit Jalil Stadium in the Malaysian capital to claim the 2022 edition of the continental competition.
First half goals from Ali Al Busaidi and Abdulaziz Al Maqbali put Al Seeb in control at the interval and a third from Muhsen Al Ghassani ensured the trophy would be going back to West Asia for the 16th time in the competition’s 18 editions.
The win secures Al Seeb a place in the preliminary rounds of the 2023/24 AFC Champions League while breaking the hearts of the majority of the almost 28,000 fans within the cavernous stadium on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
The home side almost made the perfect start after less than a minute when Paulo Josue found space behind the Al Seeb defence and with strike partner Romel Morales in space in the area. But, rather than roll the ball to the Colombian, Josue scuffed a shot across goal.
Kuala Lumpur were frustrated again in the 18th minute as another opening was squandered. Declan Lambert’s pass into the left-hand channel was centred invitingly by Partiban Janasekaran and, after Josue and Morales failed to make significant contact, Zhafri Yahya thumped a low shot back across goal that Ahmed Al Rawahi managed to keep out.
Those two misses were to prove pivotal and by the interval Al Seeb were in control.
Kevin Mendoza’s poor attempt to reach Al Busaidi’s (pictured above, No 17) corner from the Al Seeb right saw the ball sail over the Philippines international goalkeeper and cross the line after bouncing inside the six-yard box, giving the Omanis the lead.
With 12 minutes left in the first half, however, Mendoza redeemed himself when he tipped Daniel Ajibola’s long-range attempt over the bar while at the other end, Al Rahawi kept out another effort from Zhafri.
In the 37th minute, though, Al Seeb doubled their advantage when the ball was shuffled out to Salaah Al Yahyaei, who swung his right foot cross towards goal for Al Maqbali to apply the finishing touch with his head.
With their two-goal cushion Al Seeb were in control and with 21 minutes left, they ended any doubts over the outcome when Al Ghassani thumped home the third, making the most of a bounce off the shins of Giancarlo Gallifuoco to beat Mendoza with a drive into the roof of the net.