Defending champions Perak and Malacca advanced to Sunday’s final of the TNB 53rd Tun Abdul Razak Cup Division One final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Perak brushed aside a late challenge from 19-time champions Kuala Lumpur to win 3-2 for their third consecutive appearance in the final since 2013 while Malacca edged Johor 4-3 in the second semi-finals encounter.
Seven-time champions Perak led 3-0 before the end of the second quarter with field goals from Muhammad Haziq Samsul (3rd), Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi (19th) and former national team captain and defender Azlan Misron (26th).
Dubbed the ‘Come-Back Kings’, Kuala Lumpur threw everything they had into the game in search of winning goals but saw goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin a major stumbling block.
Mohamed Syamim Yusof, however, sneaked in a field goal in the 29th minute to make it 3-1 and it was only in the fourth quarter that KL’s sheer perseverance paid off as Mohamad Ramadhan Rosli pounced on an opportunity to close the gap 2-3. But the ‘Come-Back Kings’ never really could find the home trail to realise their aspiration of another Tun Abdul Razak Cup final.
Perak coach, K. Yogeswaran, said: “We took a comfortable 3-0 lead but the defenders made silly mistakes in the last quarter. This is something that should not have happened as we were in control of the match.”
“Malacca is a good side and came back strongly to beat Johor. We need to check their rise in the game and mistakes that happened today ends here,” he added.
In contrast, Malacca paraded eight youngsters from their Malaysia Games squad against Johor who were champions in 1988, 2006 and 2007.
Forward Amirullah Zainal scored a brace (24th, 38th) while Muhammad Hafiz (32nd) and Muhammad Firdaus Omar (39th) added to Malacca score line. Johor replied through Mohammad Zulhamizan (3rd), Mohd Nor Aqmal (55th) and Muhammad Azammi Adabi in the 57th minute.
In classification matches, Pahang trounced Negeri Sembilan 7-3 to finish fifth and Terengganu edged Penang by the same margin of victory to end their campaign in seventh position.
Royal Malaysian Police clobbered Sarawak 8-2 to top the Division Two table standings with 16 points, Selangor defeated Perlis 6-1 to finish second on 15 points and Kelantan edged Kedah 5-2 to finish third on 12 points.
The Cops and Selangor go into Sunday’s final in the battle for the crown, a winner’s purse of RM5,000 and promotion to Division One next year.
RESULTS – Division One Semi-finals: Perak 3 Kuala Lumpur 2; Malacca 4 Johor 3.
5-6th Playoff: Pahang 7 Negeri Sembilan 3.
7-8th Playoff: Terengganu 7 Penang 3.
Division Two: Police 8 Sarawak 2; Kelantan 5 Kedah 2; Selangor 6 Perlis 1.
FIXTURES – Sunday (6th Dec): Div Two Final: Police v Selangor (5.0, Pitch 1).
Div One Third-Fourth Placing: Kuala Lumpur v Johor (5.30pm, Pitch 2).
Final: Perak v Malacca (Pitch 2, 8.30pm).