KUALA LUMPUR (2nd September, 2016): Sapura were made to sweat before finally sealing a hard fought 2-1 win over Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in their TNB Malaysian Premier Hockey League match at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Jalan Pantai on Friday.
In other matches, Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) beat Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-1, while Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) defeated Maybank 4-1 at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca. With two minutes remaining towards the end of play, the stadium lights malfunctioned causing a blackout. However, after a 30 minute wait, KLHC were declared winners.
The win sees Sapura stay top on 12 points from five matches while KLHC are second on 11, THT third (7), Maybank in fourth spot (6) followed by UniKL in fifth (4) and TNB at the bottom with two points.
Sapura started the match strongly and didn’t need long to get on the scoreboard against a young TNB side when Dangerouslee Mathew tapped in a Muhd Firhan Ashari pass in the 10th minute.
It was 2-0 seven minutes later when Muhd Azrul Hasbullah scored from a rebound off TNB goalkeeper S. Kumar’s pads.
Sapura continued to go on the offensive after that but found TNB defence tough to crack.
TNB raised their game in the second half and scored through a penalty corner in the 42nd minute courtesy of Arif Sabron.
They continued to pile the pressure on Sapura in the third quarter and earned seven penalty corners and one in the fourth quarter but failed to get a much deserved second goal.
Sapura coach Yahya Atan was glad to see his side grind out the win especially after the late onslaught from TNB.
“A lot of teams will be pressuring us now that we are top of the league, so I am glad my boys held on. This win is very important for us, especially with Sunday’s return leg against TNB because it raises our confidence,” added Yahya who praised TNB’s fighting spirit.
In Kuala Terengganu, THT opened scoring in the 20th minute through Spaniard Nicolas Enrique Della Torre before South Korean import Jang Jonghyun made it 2-0 from a penalty corner two minutes later.
THT went 3-0 ahead when their other South Korean player Kim Junghoo netted a field goal in the 52nd minute. UniKL got on the scoreboard in the 56th minute when Rafizul Ezry Mustafa scored from a field goal.
Results – Premier League: TNB 1 Sapura 2; THT 3 UniKL 1; Maybank 1 KLHC 4 .
Fixtures – Sunday 4th Sept: KLHC v Maybank (KLHA, 6pm); UniKL v THT (KLHA, 8pm); Sapura v TNB (Tun Razak, 6pm).