Big guns KLHC, THT settle for draws

Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) suffered a setback in their chase for the TNB Malaysian Premier Hockey League crown when they only managed a 1-1 draw against a resilient Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Jalan Pantai on Friday.

In other Premier League matches, Sapura Hockey Club (Sapura) beat Maybank 2-1 while Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) played out an exciting 4-4 drawn game.

With two wins so far against defending champions THT in the Charity Shield and a comprehensive 5-2 mauling of Sapura, no one would have bet against KLHC taking all three points from a young UniKL side.

But with the quality of all teams continuously improving in this league, there are no longer sure winners.

KLHC were on the scoreboard just after three minutes from a penalty corner courtesy of South Korean flicker Hyunwoo Nam. KLHC, who remain top of the league, also had a goal disallowed before UniKL equalised in the 51st minute when Pakistani Muhammad Toseeq Muhammad Arshad’s put away a penalty corner.

Coach Muhd Harun Al-Rahid Samri was happy with the performance and commitment of his team, but admitted that they can struggle against less fancied opponents.

“When we play against opponents who are not on par with us, we tend to put more pressure on ourselves. My team played well today and they showed the commitment we ask of them, but when we do not knock in the goals, we allow the opponents to pile more pressure on us. We play TNB on Sunday and we cannot allow the same thing to happen again,” said Muhd Harun.

UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj was all smiles after his boys put in a good show.

“The two things that made all the difference today is that we came in with confidence and belief. My players were diving and fighting for space throughout the match.

“I told them before the game that it’s important to respect your opponent, but do not over respect them. We can’t give them too much space, we have to make them fight for everything, space and 50-50 balls.

“This result is a history of sorts for us. We have never drawn a match against them I think. But this match is over now and we have to focus on the next game and fight for three points,” added Arul who is looking forward to next match against Maybank on Sunday.

THT opened the scoring through a Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil in the opening minute but TNB were level just a minute later through a Syed Mohamad Syafiq field goal. TNB then scored through Norhizzat Sumantri in the 24th minute to lead 2-1 but Tengku Ahmad equalised from a penalty corner in the 27th minute to make it 2-2.

The score was soon 3-2 in TNB’s favour when Muhammad Hafizhuddin scored in the 29th minute only for Muhammad Irfan Aslam to make it 3-3 in the 31st minute.

Syed Mohamad Syafiq put TNB 4-3 up in the 53rd minute but THT’s Spanish player Nicolas Enrique Della Torre made it 4-4 in the 57th minute to share the spoils.

In Malacca, Sapura edged Maybank 2-1 thanks to field goals from Joel Samul Van Huizen in the 17th minute and Dangerouslee Anak Mathew in the 37th minute. Maybank pulled one back in the 38th minute through Juan Tuboi.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Thunderbolt brushed off Ipoh Municipal Council (MBI) 4-1 and in the process catapulted to the top of the TNBMHL 2016 Division One challenge at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh today.

With two more matches to go before the completion of the first round league matches, Thunderbolts amassed 11 points – one point clear of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM-KPT) at the top of the ladder.

In Kuala Lumpur, UiTM-KPT came back from a goal down to hold Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) to a 1-1 draw at the Tun Razak Stadium.

SSTMI shot ahead in the 22nd minute through Muhammad Zulhamizan Awang Abas penalty corner before P. Prabahkaran equalised for UiTM-KPT two minutes into the fourth quarter from a field goal.

Politeknik Malaysia also celebrated a 5-0 victory over ATM Airod at the Tun Razak Stadium with a brace from Mohamad Azwadi Ridzuan (23rd and 57th minutes) while Mohamad Asyraf Zuhry (30th), Ikmal Hafiz Zulkifli (41st) and Mohamad Shazwi Rani added to Airod’s bad day on the pitch.

With this win, Poliklinik goes second in the table standings with 10 points after five  matches while SSTMI dropped to third (9) followed by UiTM-KPT and Nur Insafi (7), Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (6), ATM Airod (3) and BJSS (2).

Johor-based SSTMI opened their Division One League campaign with a 3-3 draw against TNB Thunderbolt, sent Bukit Jalil Sports School crashing with a 6-0 victory, defeated Ipoh Municipal Council 5-3 and drew with Nur Insafi 2-2 last week.

Nur Insafi kept their bitter 0-4 defeat behind against Premier League side Sapura Hockey Club in the TNBMHL knockout tournament for the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup on Tuesday by carving a narrow 3-2 win over Bukit Jalil Sports School in a Division One match at Sungai Petani.

It was BJSS who took a 2-0 lead with goals from Ahmad Fauzan Ahmad Johari (38th) and Abdul Syafiq Abdul Razak (39th) but Nur Insafi celebrated victory with field goals a brace from Tuan Abdul Walid (42nd, 52nd) and Jamil Johari Ghazali’s penalty corner eight minutes before the end.

Results – Premier League – TNB 4 THT 4; Sapura 2 Maybank 1; UniKL 1 KLHC 1.

Division One: Nur Insafi 3 BJSS 2; UiTM-KPT 1 SSTMI 1; ATM Airod 0 Politeknik Malaysia 5; Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh 1 TNB Thunderbolt 4.

Fixtures – Sunday (28 Aug): Nur Insafi v TNB Thunderbolt (Sg Petani, 5.30pm); ATM Airod v SSTMI (Stadium Tun Abdul Razak, 6.0pm); UiTM-PKT v Politeknik Malaysia (Tun Razak Stadium, 8.0pm); MPI v BJSS (Stadium Sultan Azlan Shah, 8.0pm).

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