KUALA LUMPUR (23rd September, 2016): Sapura booked their spot in the final of the TNB Cup after beating Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 4-2 in the penalty shootout after the match ended 4-4 on aggregate at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Jalan Pantai on Friday.
They will now meet Terengganu Hockey Team (THT), who beat Maybank 8-4 (14-5 on agg) in the other semi-final, in the final on Sunday at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium.
The first leg ended 6-1.
THT’s goals were scored by Nicolas Enrique Della Torre (FG 8′), Fitri Saari (FG 36′), Jang Jonghyun (PC 38′, 45′, PC 55′), Faizal Saari (FG 39, PC 43′) and Tg. Ahmad Tajuddin (FG 54′), while Maybank hit back through Ignacio Santiago (PC 49′) and Mohd Syafiq Mohd Zain (FG 50′), Mohd Riduan Mohd Nasir (FG 58′) and Hafifihafiz Hanafi (FG 60′).
KLHC, who lost the first semi-final 3-1, did well to get back into the match and force a penalty shootout with the aggregate at 4-4, but it was Sapura who showed real character despite losing their advantage, to keep their focus and win the shootout 4-2.
With a large turnout urging them on, KLHC and Sapura didn’t disappoint as they provided the goals and box to box action that kept everyone at the edge of their seats until the ensuing shootout.
KLHC went ahead in the 10th minute through a Ali Shan field goal but found themselves level when Sapura’s Mohd Khairul Ikhwan Mohd Shabudin equalised five minutes later, also from a field goal.
But South Korean drag-flick specialist Hyunwoo Nam put KLHC back infront almost immediately and added one more to make it 3-1 in the 34th minute minute from penalty corners.
With the aggregate level, both sides went for the kill, but it was Sapura, the eventual winners, who showed more desire and hunger.
In the shootout, Sapura scored through Phillip Ross Burrows, Oscar William Wookey, Gurbaj Singh before Faiz Helmi Jali booked their place in the final. Only Muhd Firhan Ashari failed to put away his attempt.
KLHC on the other hand scored through Meor Muhamad Azuan Hasan and Harvinder Singh, while Mohd Symim Mohd Yusof and Pakistani Muhd Umar Bhutta were off the mark.
Sapura coach Yahya Atan was grateful for the win but admits it was a nerve wrecking match.
“After they went ahead, it was hard for us, the players wanted to score quickly, but were not playing according to plan. But in the second half, things were better for us.
“We had the better possession and chances but didn’t convert them. I feel both sides had a problem converting their chances today,” added Yahya.
It will be the first final for Sapura since 2006, while THT are the defending champions.
Sunday: Sapura v Terengganu Hockey Team (8.30pm, Tun Razak Stadium).