Panthers snatch top spot from Turtles

By December 8, 2016 December 15th, 2016 Newsroom

Serdang (8 December, 2016): ATM Guardians suffered a dent in their hopes of qualifying for the final play-off spot as they were humbled by Penang Black Panthers in their Ekspres Perdana Sepak Takraw League (STL) 2016 match which took place at the Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium, today.

ATM Guardians came into the match with hopes of repeating the same feat when they defeated Panthers 2-1 (13-21, 21-15, 21-18) early October in the reversed fixture.

However, this time it was the other way around as they return home disappointed after a 2-0 defeat to the Panthers.

Panthers having already qualified for the play-offs were not about to let their guard down as coach, Helmi Ismail fielded a strong line-up with the likes of Azlan Alias (striker), Zaim Razali (feeder) and Syahir Rosdi (tekong) as they brushed the Guardians aside 21-17 in the first set.

The second set proved no difference as the Guardians’ trio Nazmi Najib (tekong), Norfaizzul Razak (feeder) and Afiffudin Razali (striker) failed to keep up with the Panthers quick-feet costing them the second set, 17-21.

Today’s defeat signal trouble for the Guardians as Johor Tigris will be able to move level on points if they overcome Kedah Eagles in their match tomorrow.

In the day’s second match, Kuala Lumpur Thunder took full advantage of Guardians defeat by cruising to a 2-0 victory against Terengganu Turtles to send the league leaders home with a second successive defeat for the first time this season.

Turtles’ fans saw their team drop points for the second match in a row after seeing their unbeaten streak come to an end against Panthers’ when they lost 2-1 last Friday.

Thunders’ trio of Farid Aziz (tekong), Amirul Zazwan Amir (feeder) and Hafiz Rahman (striker) ensured they kept the fit-again Turtles talisman, Fadzli Roslan at bay with most of his spikes being blocked throughout the match.

Fadzli (striker), Azwan Muhrim (feeder) and Irsyad Faiz Aziz (tekong) were shocked in the first set as they crushed to a 21-13 defeat. They started strongly in the second set, however, the Thunders’ determination to fight till the end proved to be the difference as they edged the Turtles 21-16.

Panthers’ victory today see them go level on points with Turtles while also occupying top spot for the first time this season as Turtles drop to second.

While Thunder hold on tight to the third place in the league, the fight for the final play-off spot could see both Guardians and Tigris battling it out till the last match of the season to book their place in the semi-finals which will take place on December 17 at the Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium.

RESULTS:
Thursday (8 December 2016):
Ekspres Perdana Sepak Takraw League (STL):
Penang Black Panthers bt ATM Guardians 2-0 (21-17, 21-17)
Kuala Lumpur Thunder bt Terengganu Turtles 2-0 (21-13, 21-16)
FIXTURES:

Ekspres Perdana Sepak Takraw League (STL):
Friday (9 December 2016): Kedah Eagles v Johor Tigris (8pm), Kelantan Warriors v Melaka Titans (9.30pm).
Saturday (10 December 2016): ATM Guardians v Kedah Eagles (4pm), Terengganu Turtles v Kelantan Warriors (5.30pm).
Sunday (11 December 2016): Melaka Titans v Kuala Lumpur Thunder (4pm), Johor Tigris v Penang Black Panthers (5.30pm).

* Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium, Selangor