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Al Habsi adds to incredible Oman cap haul

Royals stopper in international action on the West Bank

14 June 2017

Ali Al Habsi took his international cap tally to a formidable 120 when he took his place between the posts for Oman in Palestine last night.

Our two-time Player of the Season had kept a clean sheet for his country in their first Asian Cup qualifier in March - a comprehensive win over Bhutan - but his Omani outfit were edged out 2-1 at the Faisal Al Hussaini Stadium by an unbeaten Palestine side.

Pim Verbeek’s team found the Palestinians to be an entirely different proposition to Bhutan, as they played in front of their own fans on an artificial pitch.

Jonathan Zorrilla headed beyond Al Habsi to connect with a cross from the left by Shadi Shaban to hand the hosts a 14th minute lead and, seven minutes later, Oman's back line failed to clear and Yaser Islame arrowed an unstoppable effort in off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-0.

Palestine had beaten the Maldives 3-0 in their opening qualifying clash and they held on for victory in this one, despite Oman halving the deficit on the stroke of half-time when Abdulaziz Al Maqbali won a penalty and Ahmed Mubarak stepped up to pull one back from the spot.

Ali's first international calling came in qualification for the same tournament, the AFC Asian Cup, back in 2004 - and he played in that Finals tournament in China before also keeping guard for Oman in 2007 (when it was staged across four countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand) and then again in 2015 in Australia!

On the domestic front, Al Habsi has been named our Player of the Season in both the campaigns he has represented the Royals - and was an ever present between the posts in 2016-17 league campaign!