KUALA LUMPUR (4th September, 2016): South Korean drag flick specialist Hyunwoo Nam scored a hat-trick to guide Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) to a 7-2 mauling of Maybank in their Malaysian Premier Hockey League match at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Jalan Pantai on Sunday.
In other matches, Sapura stayed top of the league with a 2-1 win over Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) while Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) saw off Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 2-1.
The results sets up a mouthwatering top of the table clash on Friday between Sapura and KLHC that could well decide the outcome of the championship.
Hyunwoo’s three goals, all from penalty corners, brings his tally in the tournament so far to six and places him as the top scorer with four matches to go.
KLHC went ahead in the eighth minute through Muhd Asyraf Ishak’s tap in from close range.They could have added one more almost immediately after Muhd Rashid Baharom pounced on a poor pass in the middle of the pitch and made his way into the box, but Maybank goalkeeper Muhd Zaimi Mat Deris did enough to intercept his cross,
Maybank levelled the score in the 11th minute when Hafifihafiz Hanafi beautifully placed the ball to the left of goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
Pakistani Muhd Umar Bhutta then had a great chance to put KLHC ahead again in the 17th minute, but Muhd Zaimi pulled off a great save to deny him.
KLHC got their second goal from a penalty corner in the 20th minute when Hyunwoo blasted home. He had a chance to make it 3-1 from the penalty spot in the 26th minute, but Muhd Zaimi pulled off a remarkable save.
But there was no denying KLHC a minute later when Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim put away his penalty corner.
KLHC came out with guns blazing in the second half and were up 4-1 in the 33 minute when Hyunwoo flicked home from a penalty corner.
Maybank pulled one back to make it 4-2 in the 46th minute courtesy of a well taken Hafifihafiz goal, his second of the match.
Umar Bhutta restored KLHC’s three goal cushion a minute later when he picked up an attempted clearance from the Maybank defence and knocked the ball home from close range.
Hyunwoo secured his hat-trick in the 51st minute from a penalty corner to make it 6-2 while Spaniard Pedro Lopez-Alonso wrapped up the match in the 58th minute from a field goal.
KLHC coach Muhd Harun Al-Rahid Samri looks to have addressed his side’s poor performance against weaker opponents.
“This time, we kept up the pressure after going a goal up and were rewarded. We need to keep this momentum going. The three points today is the most important thing. We made our penalty corners count and took our chances well.
“We were caught at the back in both Maybank goals and I will address it during training this week. This result gives us the confidence we need especially as we face Sapura and THT in the coming matches,” added Muhd Harun.
At the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium, Sapura went ahead in the sixth minute through a Muhammad Marhan Jalil penalty corner while TNB made it 1-1 in the 22nd minute through a Syed Mohamad Syafiq Syed Cholan penalty stroke.
Australian Oscar William Wookey ensured all three points for Sapura from a penalty corner in the 45th minute.
Sapura manager Louis Gregory was happy his players grinded out the result on the back of their hectic schedule.
“My players looked very lethargic today. We had a tough first leg against TNB last Friday and we will travel to Johor for the semi-finals of the Tan Sri P.Alagendra Cup against Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School on Tuesday in Bandar Penawar, Johor. So the result is very important to us,” said Louis.
In the late match at Jalan Pantai, THT walked away 2-1 winners despite having a man down when Faizal Saari was sent off for dissent in the third quarter.
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil put THT ahead in the 21st minute through a field goal and South Korean Jang Jonghyun made it 2-0 from a penalty corner in the 25th minute. UniKL replied through Abdul Khaliq Hamirin in the 54th minute from a field goal.
Results – Premier League:KLHC 7Maybank 2; Sapura 2 TNB 1; UniKL1 THT 2.
Fixtures – Friday 9th Sept:Sapura v KL Hockey Club (TunRazak Stadium, 6pm); Maybank v Terengganu Hockey Team (Bukit Serindit Stadium, Malacca, 6pm); Tenaga Nasional Berhad v Universiti Kuala Lumpur (KLHA, 8pm).