Kuala Lumpur (9 Sept, 2016): Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Thunderbolt lifted the TNBMHL 2016 Division One title with an electrifying 13-1 victory over ATM Airod at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium today.
Faced with the prospect of going into a three-horse race alongside defending champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) and Politeknik Malaysia for the title, Thunderbolt went into the game fully charged and ended it on a thrilling note by registering the biggest win in the league.
It was a glorious ending for the TNB development squad under the care of head coach Nur Saiful Zaini and his assistant Mohd Sufian Mohamad as they had needed more than seven goals to pip SSTMI to the league title.
“It was a simple but biggest win for us in the league today. We needed more than seven goals and the players went about their task. It was a good game for us. Thunderbolt is a development squad for the future of Malaysian hockey and the national team,” said an elated Nur Saiful Zaini .
“We need to create thinking players… who are mentally strong in a game and able to make the difference. It has been a good experience for the players,” he added.
At the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru, SSTMI defeated Politeknik Malaysia 1-0 with a Muhamad Luqman Hakim 44th minute field goal but that was not good enough to snatch the title away from Thunderbolt who kept on piling the goals some 400km away in Kuala Lumpur with Mohd Akhimullah Anuar scoring four goals and hat-tricks from Mohamed Kamil Mohd Yusop and Mohamad Noor Firdaus, while Muhamad Azrai Aizad, Muhd Hazzim Amin and Faiq Razin made it a memorable evening for Thunderbolt.
Both Thunderbolt and SSTMI amassed 15 points but Thunderbolt emerged champions on superior goal difference. Thunderbolt scored a total of 34 goals and conceded 14 while SSTMI scored 24 and conceded 11.
Universiti Teknologi MARA-KPT finished third in the league following a 5-2 win Bukit Jalil Sports School at the adjacent Ministry of Education pitch, pushing Politeknik Malaysia into fourth spot.
At the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh defeated Penang-based Nur Insafi 5-2 for their third win in seven matches to go fifth in the table standings on nine points followed by BJSS sixth spot (5 points) and ATM Airod reeling at the basement with three points.
With the conclusion of the Division One league, all eight teams will now compete in the quarterfinals of the President’s Cup Knockout tournament that starts on September 16. The draw for the quarterfinals will be held tomorrow (Saturday, September 10).
Results – Division One: TNB Thunderbolt 13 ATM Airod 1; SSTMI 1 Politeknik Malaysia 0; MBI 5 Nur Insafi 2; UiTM-KPT 5 BJSS 2.