Aug 24, 2015

Tough day for THT, KLHC and Maybank

Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) turned on the heat in the third quarter to subdue Sapura HC 5-2 in the return leg of the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

In the first leg, THT won by a solitary goal scored by Azlan Misron at the Batu Buruk Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

In other matches, four-time champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) pounced back to defeat Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) 2-1 with penalty corner drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim scoring both goals (13th and 36th) after Mohd Amin Rahim had given TNB an 11th minute lead with a field goal.

Maybank also came back from a 2-1 deficit to upstage Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-2 in this second round match. Jethro Ray Eustice put UniKL 1-0 up with a 17th minute goal but Maybank pulled back through Pakistan’s Shafqat Rasool (22nd, PC) before UniKL’s Nazmi Farizal Jazlan put his side 2-1 ahead with a penalty corner goal in the 30th minute.

But it was the sheer perseverance of Maybank that saw them pulling off this victory with two late penalty corner goals - Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin made it count in the 56th minute and Muhammad Waqas fired home a minute later.

Both teams, however, will only play their revised first leg match on September 2. The match was earlier scheduled on Aug 14 but was washed away by heavy rain after seven minute of play.

Muhammad Fitri Saari opened scoring for THT after just five minutes of play from a penalty corner goal, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin added the second in the 23rd minute from a field goal and Ismail Abu made it 3-0 at the stroke of first half from a penalty corner to give THT a comfortable lead at the interval.

Sapura, however, clawed back with two goals from their Pakistan connection to stay in touch with the east coast giants. Khasif Ali scored from a 41st minute penalty stroke and Muhammad Imran closed the gap at 3-2 via a penalty corner two minutes later.

However, a defensive error by Sapura in the 44th minute after making a gigantic push to narrow the gap allowed THT to go ahead 4-2, thanks to Faizal Saari’s quick work in front of the goalmouth while team captain Shahrun Nabil Abdullah knocked home the fifth goal with just a minute of play left.

KLHC go top with 19 points with double champions THT one point behind on 18 points while Sapura’s chances of making a top-two finish evaporated with this latest defeat – their third in seven matches.

Following this victory, THT coach, Sarjit Singh, said: “This was the most crucial match and we got three points. Our next three matches will be played at the Batu Buruk Stadium in Kuala Terengganu and we are excited. All we need is to win nine more points and stand a very good chance of a great shot at the title once again.”

He added that Sapura are just like any other teams in the league that is hard to beat.

“They played well in the second and third quarters with several penalty corner opportunities and were unfortunate not to convert them. We have put this game behind us and are focused on our last three remaining matches,” he added.

THT play TNB (Aug 28), Maybank (Aug 30) and four-time champions KLHC (Sept 3) in the return leg matches in Kuala Terengganu.

Meanwhile, Sapura head coach, Tai Beng Hai, added that generally they had a good game but were unlucky not to convert the chances that came their way.

“We picked up slowly and gave THT a good fight. They are a good side and I guess we will just continue to play to our level best and hope to finish third or fourth in the league,” he added.

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