Kuala Lumpur (22 February, 2017): Defending champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) escaped from the jaws of defeat to hold Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) to a 4-4 draw in the first-leg semi-finals of the TNB Cup at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium today.
It was a gallant performance from UniKL who took the lead three times in the match, only to allow THT make a grand comeback in the game.
“We wasted an opportunity to win as twice lapses in concentration cost us quick goals after taking the lead. We need to be more focussed and not lose concentration as that cost us a lot today,” said UniKL coach, A. Arul Selvaraj.
“Still I am happy with the overall performance and commitment of the players as we are still within a shot of a place in the final. There is still 60 minutes left to play and who knows what will happen.”
The university boys opted to go in deep defence, handing the attacking initiative to THT instead but Fitri Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Nicholas Enrique failed to make good use of it for THT.
UniKL were awarded a penalty corner in the 8th minute and opted to play a set piece but Faridzul Afiq missed the deflection. On the opposite end, THT were also awarded a penalty corner but Azlan Misron slipped and off the counter Ignacio Santiago Salas sent the ball to S. Selavaraju who scored from an acute angle in the 14th minute.
Barely had the cheers died down that THT equalised when B, Namasivayam manoeuvred in from the left to tap the ball past goalkeeper Tomas Matias Santiago from Argentina in the 15th minute.
A minute into the second quarter THT were awarded their second penalty corner and this time Korean Jang Jonghyun made no mistake to send a drag flick into the top right corner to give the east coast side a 2-1 lead.
After squandering their second penalty corner in the 32nd minute, UniKL made good of their third penalty corner in the very next minute as Pakistani Muhammad Aleem Bilal made it count.
Two minutes later UniKL took a 3-2 lead in the 35th minute through Ashran Hamsani only for Fitri Saari to equalise 3-3 seconds later. Faridzul Afiq was brought down by THT goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman and Najmi Farizal Jazlan converted the penalty stroke to give UniKL a 4-3 lead in the 45th minute. But Jang saved the day with a penalty corner conversion 14 seconds from time.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) survived a torrid time against Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) before Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof scored the winning goal in this first-leg semi-final for the TNB Cup.
With just 18 seconds remaining on the clock, Mohd Syamim turned the tide around for the 2017 Premier League champions via an open goal to give KLHC a one-goal advantage going into Friday’s second-leg encounter.
KLHC had five penalty corners in the match and TNB seven but could not turn any into goal. TNB’s best chance of taking the lead came in the 46th minute off a penalty corner but Syed Mohammad Syafiq Syed Cholan powerful push struck the left post while Muhammad Ramadan Rosli’s reverse stick drive four minutes later went inches wide past goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
“It was a tough match today and we were lucky to score in the last few seconds,” said KLHC team manager Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar. “But a one-goal lead is not enough going into the second leg tie and we have to play much better than we did today.”
“I believe we had trouble adjusting on this surface as KLHC have not played a long time at the Tun Razak Stadium.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) we had our firs training session and that was one factor we could not move well. TNB played an excellent game too and came close to scoring on many occasions,” he added.
TNB coach, Muhammad Amin Rahim said he was satisfied with the performance of his players who gave their best against KLHC today, especially goalkeeper S. Kumar who was instrumental in making daring saves. He was in top form no doubt.”
“We lost 3-2 against KLHC in the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup but played to a 2-2 and 3-3 draw in the Premier League. Our match against KLHC has always been tough and I hope the players will carry on the momentum in the return leg semi-finals. In modern hockey, a 1-0 or 2-0 lead is not safe enough for any opposition,” said Amin.
Results – Semi-finals 1st Leg Semi-finals:
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club 1 Tenaga Nasional Berhad 0;
Terengganu Hockey Team 4 University Kuala Lumpur 4.
Friday (24 Feb, 2017): Second-leg Semi-finals:
University Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu Hockey Team (6pm);
Tenaga Nasional Berhad v Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (8pm, both matches at Stadium Tun Razak).