KUALA LUMPUR (9th September, 2016): Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) put up a dominant display to beat Sapura Hockey Club 3-0 to go top of the TNB Malaysian Premier Hockey League at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium on Friday.
Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim stole the show on his debut after being given the green light to play along with Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, when he scored twice from penalty corners in the first half to put his side in the driving seat to victory.
In other matches, Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) beat Maybank 5-2 while Universiti Kuala Lumpur beat Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) 3-0.
KLHC now lead the table with 17 points from seven matches with Sapura second on 15, THT are third with 13, UniKL have seven, Maybank have six, while TNB are rock bottom with two points.
KLHC took the lead when captain and drag flick specialist Muhd Razie scored his first in the 12th minute from a period of sustained pressure.
Sapura had a great chance to draw level five minutes later from a cross on the right, but Faridzul Afiq Mohd scuffed his shot with just goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin to beat.
Sapura then had a goal disallowed on a counter attack in the 28th minute when umpire R. Anbanathan ruled that it had not taken a deflection en route to goal from outside the semi-circle.
Muhd Firhan Ashari led the brief protests for Sapura but the umpire’s decision was final.
KLHC were 2-0 up at the stroke of half-time when Muhd Razie again expertly put away his penalty corner past goalkeeper Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman.
They were 3-0 up in the 32nd minute courtesy of a Muhd Haziq Samsul field goal after some great work from Pakistani Muhd Umar Bhutta on the right.
Sapura tried their best to get back into the match late in the third quarter, but despite the pressure, could not force a save from Roslan.
Early in the fourth quarter, KLHC had another great chance but Muhd Haziq’s shot from close range came off Mohd Hairi’s stick and away from danger.
KLHC coach Muhd Harun Al-Rahid Samri was quick to point out that today’s result, although important, counts for very little if they drop points in their remaining matches.
“This win is excellent, it was what we needed, which is three points. But it means nothing if we fumble in our next three games.
“Sapura’s players are very fit and quick and my players are very tired now. Tomorrow we play THT and it will not be easy for us,” said Muhd Harun.
Veteran coach Yahya Atan was magnanimous in defeat as he admitted his Sapura team lost to the “better side”.
“We didn’t have much rest during the week as we featured in the Tan Sri Alagendra Cup. They didn’t have to play as they are out so they are more rested. But they were the better side.
“But I was proud of the performance my team put in, especially the younger players like Azrul (Hasbullah) and Fawwaz (Ramli) who stepped up because the seniors needed to be rested as we play the final (Tan Sri Alagendra Cup) on Wednesday.
“For us now, we must win against UniKL on Saturday,” added Yahya.
At Bukit Serindit, THT were 3-0 up in the first quarter through penalty corner goals from South Korean Jang Jonghyun in the 7th and 13th minutes while Argentine Nicolas Enrique Della Torre scored from a field goal a minute later.
Maybank’s Argentine Juan Valeriano made it 3-1 to Maybank through a penalty flick in the 26th minute while compatriot Ignacio Santiago added another a minute later from a field goal.
THT then rounded up the scoring through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil field goals in the 49th and 58th minutes.
At the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan opened the scoring for UniKL in the 22nd minute from a penalty corner while Irishman Robert Luke Madeley made it 2-0 two minutes later, also from a penalty corner.
Muhd Hafiz Zainol wrapped up the scoring in the 56th minute with a well taken field goal.
Fixtures – Premier League, Saturday: Universiti Kuala Lumpur v Sapura Hockey Club (Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, 6pm); Maybank v Tenaga Nasional Berhad (Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium, 6pm); KL Hockey Club v Terengganu Hockey Team (Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, 8pm).