Too Close To Call

By February 15, 2017 February 16th, 2017 Newsroom

Kuala Lumpur (15 February, 2017): Tenaga Nasional Berhad came back from two goals down to hold Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club to a 3-3 draw – a result that skewed KLHC’s chances of taking a firm grip in the Premier Division of the TNBMHL 2017.

Anton Poul Fritz Ebeling fired KLHC ahead in the 15th minute from a rebound after Nabil Fiqri’s powerful drive inside the circle was unsuccessfully blocked by goalkeeper S. Kumar and Muhammad Rashid Baharom doubled the advantage four minutes later but TNB equalised in the 22nd and 38th minutes through Muhammad Najib Abdul Rahman and Muhammafd Azzami Adabi.

TNB, who are battling with Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) to finish third in the league, were once again down 2-3 with three minutes remaining game via a Hammod Casey Dawsond penalty corner but Mohammad Shahril Saabah rescued TNB with a late goal.

THT and KLHC now share 30-equal points with University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) third on 23 points and TNB fourth (22) followed by Maybank (13), TNB Thunderbolts (10) whilst UiTM-KPT and Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School basking at the bottom of the table with two points each.

KLHC team manager Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar said that they were unfortunate to end the match in draw.

“My players played well and we were so close of collecting full points but TNB spoiled the day for us by equalising in the last minute. Despite the draw, we still have the chance to win the league title but it will all depend in our last two matches against UniKL on Friday and THT on Sunday.”

TNB head coach, Muhammad Amin Rahim, however, congratulated his players for not giving up the fight after going down by two goals.

“I am very proud of my players. They did not lose hope and fought for every ball and took the opportunities well to hold KLHC to this draw. Our record against KLHC is clean as we also held them to a 2-2 draw in the first round encounter,” said Amin.

“Our mission now is to finish at least third in the league and the next two matches against SSTMI (Friday) and UniKL on Sunday,” he added.

In Kuala Terengganu, coach Sarjit Singh was relieved that the double champions are back in contention to retain the title following a 3-0 win over TNB Thunderbolts at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium.

Muhammad Firhan Ashari (16th), Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain (56th) and Shazril Irwan (58th) scored for THT.

“The race is open between us and KLHC. We also have a tough match against Maybank on Friday before we take on KLHC on Sunday. So it going to be another tough chapter for THT and we cannot afford to drop points,” said Sarjit.

UniKL squandered an opportunity to put a gap between them and Tenaga Nasional Berhad when they lost 4-1 to Maybank at the KLHA Stadium.

It was a poor performance from UniKL who now have to win both their matches against KLHC (Friday) and TNB (Sunday) to finish third. Despite the defeat UniKL and TNB have already qualified for the TNB Cup on Feb 21.

“We played poorly and deserve to lose, no excuses as Maybank played much better,” said UniKL coach A. Arul Selvaraj. “Our defence was poor and we lost control of the midfield. Now our task of finishing third has become all the more difficult as we need to win both our last two matches.

UniKL were a pale shadow of themselves as they looked listless and lost in the first two quarters. And they paid a heavy price as the Tigers chalked up a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Maybank drew first blood as they scored in the 8th minute through Zulhairi Hashim who converted their second penalty corner and five minutes later Maybank doubled their advantage through Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi.

UniKL awoke from their slumber to narrow the deficit in the 44th minute through Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin who scored from an acute angle.

But any chance of a fightback was snuffed as Maybank scored their third in the 50th minute through Shafiq Zain. Korean Nam Hyun Woo converted a penalty stroke in the 58th minute to complete the rout.

Results – Premier League: Tenaga Nasional Berhad 3 Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club 3; Terengganu Hockey Team 3 TNB Thunderbolts 0; Universiti Kuala Lumpur x Maybank x; UiTM-KPT 1 Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School 1.

Friday (17 February, 2017): Terengganu Hockey Team v Maybank (Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium, 5.0pm); Universiti Kuala Lumpur v Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHA Stadium, 6.0pm); Tenaga Nasional Berhad v SSTMI (KLHA Stadium, 8.0pm); TNB Thunderbolts v UiTM-KPT (SSTMI Hoki Stadium, 5.0pm).