Kuala Lumpur (13 December 2015): Armed Forces went firing on all cylinders to gun down Black Panthers in the final of the inaugural SepakTakraw League Malaysia 2015 at the Sports Arena Sentosa in Petaling Jaya today.
The Penang outfit, led by two of the most lethal players in the side in the form of Syahir Rosdi and Khairol Zaman, could not do much after coming back from a game down as Armed Forces celebrated victory 2-1 to claim the coveted trophy and a winner’s cheque worth RM40,000 while Black Panthers settled for RM20,000.
It was Armed Forces second triumph this year having captured the National Grand Prix title early this year.
In one of the most dramatic matches sepaktakraw fans numbering an estimated 1,500 here have ever seen between two of the most exciting teams in STL 2015, it was the soldiers who surprised Panthers by taking a 1-0 lead in the opening regu.
The trio of Tunku Azwari (tekong), Faizzul Abdul Razak (feeder) and Khairudin Adenan (striker) triumphed 21-16, 19-21 and 21-18 over Fazil Asri, Anuar Samsudin and Fadzil Mustafa to boost their confidence level.
As for Panthers, it was now left to their second regu consisting of national players in Syahir, Khairol and Zaim Razali to stop Armed Forces march and the trio were in their element, registering a straight set 21-15, 21-10 win over Nazmi Mohd Najib, Shakirin Nasir and Muhaimi Che Bongsu to force the game into a decider.
However, in the deciding third regu, it was Panthers who once again provided the early salvo by winning the first set 21-19 through Noor Azman Abdul, Suhairi Sulaiman and Anas Hashim but Armed Forces, marshalled by Zulfikar Mat Amin, Nazuha Nadzli and Asrie Isa rallied back to win the second 21-14.
The soldiers surprised all by taking a 4-0 lead in the third set, raced to 6-3 and then 13-7 before wrapping it up 21-16 for their second major title in the 2015 season.
Meanwhile, Gomo Warriors took home RM10,000 prize money and a bronze medal after overcoming a spirited City Flyers side 2-1 in the third-fourth placing playoff which lasted three hours.
The city lads, who lost 2-1 to Armed Forces in Saturday’s semi-finals, pocketed RM5,000 for finishing fourth.
The trio of Farid Abd Aziz, Hafiz Abd Rahman and Muqlis Borhan secured Flyers’ first point by beating Warriors’ combination of Mohamad Hisyam, Nur Yuslie and Malik Faqimi in straight sets with a score line of 21-14, 21-10 in a dual that lasted 29 minutes.
Gomo Warriors swiftly levelled the score by winning the second regu. Their trio, Afifuddin Razali, Farhan Adam, a member of the national team to the ISTAF SuperSeries Grand Finals in Thailand in October, and Normanizam Ahmad defeated Flyers’ Aizat Nor Azmi, Azlan Alias and Amirul Zazwan Amir 21-19, 22-20.
Ultimately, it was Warriors who carried their momentum into the crucial third regu and delivered the vital blow that secured them third place. Wan Naim Izani, Aidil Aiman Azwawi and Khairul Hisyam defeated Flyers’ Ezzat Mohamad Zaki, Amirul Azhar Roslan and Syafiq Rahman 21-11, 18-21 and 21-16 in 75 minutes.
“This has been a great ending for us in the STL,” said Gomo Warriors coach, Baharil Anuar. “No one expected us to go this far in the tournament and I am extremely proud of my players who showed great determination in the League to overcome such odds. I am happy and the turn of events here.”
Armed Forces bt Black Panthers 2-1
Armed Forces ‘A’ bt Black Panthers ‘A’ (21-16, 19-21, 21-18)
Armed Forces ‘B’ lost to Black Panthers ‘B’ (15-21, 12-21)
Armed Forces ‘C’ bt Black Panthers ‘C’ (19-21, 21-14, 21-17)
Gomo Warriors bt City Flyers (2-1)
Gomo Warriors ‘A’ lost to City Flyers ‘A’ (14-21, 10-21)
Gomo Warriors ‘B’ beat City Flyers ‘B’ (21-19, 22-20)
Gomo Warriors ‘C’ beat City Flyers ‘C’ (21-11, 18-21, 21-16)
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