BAHRAIN's soccer giants Muharraq returned from Dubai to a hero's welcome last night after winning their first-ever GCC Clubs Championship. Muharraq made history clinching the GCC title after defeating hosts Al Wasl of the UAE 5-4 on penalties at Zabeel Stadium.
Muharraq staged a dramatic comeback from its 1-3 home upset defeat in Manama by taking an identical 3-1 lead in the return game, before securing the title 5-4 after penalty shoot-outs.
Moroccan midfielder Jamal Braro scored the first goal 10 minutes into the match before Al Wasl netted the equaliser in the last minute of the first-half.
Muharraq striker Ismaeel Abdullatif and his teammate Saleh Abdulhamid added two more goals for Muharraq in the 50th and 65th minutes, sending the game into penalty shoot-outs.
And it was Muharraq's young goalkeeper Abdulla Al Kaabi who emerged hero of the night, making two impressive saves from the penalty spot to secure Muharraq's sensational victory.
Muharraq's delegation yesterday were received by a thousands of the home supporters, headed by Shaikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa, son of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander.
Other senior officials welcoming the delegation included Supreme Council for Youth and Sports general secretary and President of the Bahrain Football Association Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, General Organization for Youth and Sports president Hisham Al Jowder and Muharraq Club president Shaikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Khalifa.
Shaikh Mohammed hailed the great football victory achieved by Muharraq, noting the great efforts exerted by the players during the match and said that they were a good example representing Bahraini clubs in this championship.
His Majesty King Hamad, the Crown Prince and His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, sent cables of congratulations to Muharraq Club President Shaikh Ahmed, the club's board members and players on winning the trophy.
The leadership lauded this great sport achievement wishing continued success and advancement in all sports. He also hailed the great sportsmanship exhibited by the team during the football match.
On his part, Supreme Council chairman and president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa congratulated all Muharraq Club representatives on this accomplishment, stressing it was another great sporting achievement in the prosperous era of His Majesty King Hamad.
He also lauded the great efforts exerted by the players during the match that affirmed the advanced level of professionalism that the team enjoys.
Bahrain's leadership earlier hailed the outstanding achievement of Muharraq Club soccer team.
The club were also congratulated by other high-ranking sports officials, including First deputy-chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain Athletikcs Associaiton president Shaikh Talal bin Mohammed Al Khalifa and Bahrain Swimming Association chief Shaikh Hashim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.