Sep 22, 2015

Cicileo guides THT to double in dramatic penalty shootout

Argentinean Nicolas Cicileo brought cheers to the hundreds of Terengganu Hockey Team fans as the east coast giants won the TNB Cup 5-4 in a dramatic penalty shootout at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on sunday.

For the second consecutive year THT won both the League and TNB Cup watched by an estimated 4,000 fans. However, the total prize money of RM120,000 (RM70,000 for the champion and RM50,000 for the runners-up) was shared equally by both teams after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.

It will be a day to remember for the high drama and near misses that enveloped the night as the two top teams were embroiled in a battle which forced the tie to go into penalty shootout.

And in the penalty shootout, THT and KLHC were once again leveled at 3-3. Sibblings- Faizal and FitriSaari, and Cicileoscored for THT while Nabil Fiqri, Mohd SyamimYusof and Pakistan’s Ali Shan were on target for KLHC to take the match into sudden death.

Faizal, however, gave THT hope by scoring first and Ali Shan equalisedfor KLHC. Fitridampened THT’s hopes by blowing away his chance and all KLHC’s Nabil Fiqri had to do this time was place the ball between the posts but saw his reverse stick shot hit the crossbar.

And in the next move, Cicileo plastered THT’s hopes by beating goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin while KLHC coach K.Dharmaraj and their fans were left dumbfounded when Mohd SyamimYusof failed in his attempt – giving THT victory 5-4 and the coveted trophy.

THT not only had the full force support of an estimated 1,500 fans but top of their VIP list included MenteriBesar, Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, former MenteriBesarDatuk Seri Ahmad Said, State Exco chairman for Youth and Sports, Dato’ RoziMamat and President of Terengganu HA, Dato’ Wan Ahmad Nizam Abdul Hamid.

It was five-time champions KLHC who started the momentum going two minutes into the game via a penalty corner but Razie Rahim’spowerful flick struck the cross bar and rebounded into play with no further finishing.

Faizal, however,gave the visiting fans much to cheer three minutes after KLHC’s failure by scoring a field goal but this was duly cancelled by video umpire IskandarRashdan after KLHC called for a referral as the ball had touched Faizal’s body in his attempt to stop it with his stickbefore side-stepping goalkeeper Roslan.

But THT saved their bestin the third quarter. Mohamed FirhanAshari made a flourishing run down the left flank in the 36th minute only to be denied of a shot at goal by a defender and in the ensuing penalty corner Faizalpacked the ball past Roslan to give THT the lead – his 18th goal in the TNBMHL 2015 season.

Both teams had their fair share of ball possession with a display of cohesive and assertive hockey but KLHC were on fire as they earned another penalty corner in the 38th minute and this time Razie was on target to draw level 1-1. It was his 12th goal in the league.

Not to be outdone and out run, THT mounted attacks through several more penalty corners only to be denied by the experience of the 36-year-old Roslan whose quick reflexes left THT in deep frustration.

The final saw tempers flaring 10 seconds before the end with KLHC’s Pakistan import Muhamad Umar Bhutta and Faizal involved in an altercation. Both players were subsequently sent to the bin. On resumption, neither teamcould score the winning goal forcing the match into a penalty shootout.

Meanwhile, a deeply motivated Sapura Hockey Club battered weary Maybank 6-0and walked away with RM40,000 as incentive for finishing third in the one-sided encounter whileMaybank took home RM30,000.

It was by far the worst performance from Maybankwho took to the field without the injured Pakistan duo of Muhammad Irfan andMuhammad Waqas, and forward Riduan Mohamed Nasiragainst an opponent that beat them 2-1 and 3-2 respectively in the two-leg TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division.

Pakistani Abdul Haseem Khan scored a brace (34th and 50th) while Dangerous Lee (39th), MuhamadMarhanJalil(45th) and Faridzul, Afiq(47th) demolished Maybankwith a precision attacking machinery.

“To start with I am surprise by this 6-0 victory. I did not expect for us to win with so many goals,” said Sapura head coach Tai BengHai in a post-match press conference.“I guess we were far motivated to end the season on a winning note.”

A dejected Maybank coach, S. Vellapan, said it was all a matter of desire but cracks in their defence found the going tough for his side after Sapura took a 3-0 lead.

“I am disappointed with this defeat. We gave away too many goals but when you don’t have three of your better players it did not matter much as the others are capable of playing well,” said Vellapan.

“It was just not our day. We did try and had our chances but could not score,” he added.

Sallehin brings joy toTNB Thunderbolt

TNB Thunderbolt emerged champions of the TNBMHL 2015 Division One President’s Cup once again following a 2-1 victory over UniversitiTeknologi MARA (UiTM) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil saturday.

Mohamed Sallehin Abdul Ghani was the toast of TNB Thunderboltfor turning the match around in favour of the 2013 champions with a 66th minute penalty corner strike after both teams were tied 1-1 with the looming threat of the match going into penalty shootout.

TNB, who finished third in the Division One League behind eventual champions UiTM and ATM Airod, went into the lead with a 23th minute penalty corner goal through Muhammad HanafiAzemibut Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazriequalised for UiTM in the 38th minute from a penalty corner.

UiTM, however, replaced goalkeeper MuhamadFitriJasni with Mohd Rafiuddin Mohd Dahario who played the role of ‘kicking back’ four minutes into the final whistle.

TNB Thunderbolt went home with RM30,000 as champions while UiTM – the Division One champions, received RM20,000.

The third-fourth placing playoff match between Ipoh City Council and ATM Airod turned into goals galore as an estimated 400 fans witnessed a total of 15 goals scored, the highest ever in a single match throughout the TNBMHL 2015 season.

Ipoh City Council eventually emerged winners 9-6 and took home RM10,000while ATM Airod received RM5,000.

ArshadRepikhaliwas the toast of Ipoh City Council by netting five goals (7th, 36th, 46th, 52nd and 68th) to take his personal tally to 18 in the tournamentand was aptly picked for the top scorer award which comes with a RM1,000 reward.

The others came through SofianKamaruddin (58th), Mohd Najme Ahmad Hayazi (59th), HairulNizamAb Rani (65th) and ShahrusahadanBasri (70th).

ATM Airodreplied through a hat-trick from Razali Mohd Hazemi(14th, 19th and 38th) and assisted by AbdGhafar Mohd Nordin (20th, 53rd) and Mohamed IzuanMismanin the 35th minute.

Meanwhile, an official of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Technical Committee clarified thatthe two-match suspension served on UiTM players Taufik Abdul Hamid and RazaleeYahya an hour before the second-leg semifinals on Friday was within the rules.

Both players were hauled up for arguing and pushing umpire Mohd Rahizan Mohamed Ramli in Wednesday’s first-leg semi-final match against Ipoh City Council.

“We received the match report immediately from the umpire after the game but could not take action against the duo as the Technical Committee received the video clip of the match on Thursday. Having seen the video it was unanimously agreed there was a serious breach of conduct by the players,” he said.

“Hence we called up the players on Friday at 3.0pm but they arrived late. A decision was arrived after hearing what they (players) had to say,” he added.

Sep 18, 2015

It’s a THT and KLHC final again!

Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) once again qualified for the final of the TNB Cup 2015 following a 7-2 victory (aggregate 10-7) over Maybank in the second-leg semifinals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The double champions go into Sunday’s finale against five-time champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club. KLHC had earlier defeated Sapura 2-1 (aggregate 8-1) to confirm their ticket in the final.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin opened the flood gates for THT with penalty corner goals in the second and eighth minutes before Argentinean Jose Leandro Tolini added the third in similar fashion one minute later which greatly impressed their fans.

Maybank, riding high on confidence as they trooped onto the field following the 5-3 win over THT in the first-leg semifinals on Tuesday, were a spent force as Faizal Saari knocked home the fourth goal and his 16th in the tournament from a field goal three minutes into the third quarter.

More goals from Firhan Ashari (45th), Nicolas Cicileo (48th) and Faizal(51st) further eroded Maybank’s chances of an upset win over the east coast giants.

This is the second time Maybank went down in the semi-finals stage against THT by a big margin defeat. In 2014, Maybank won the first-leg tie 3-2 in Kuala Terengganu but suffered a humiliating 6-1 loss in the return match at the National Hockey Stadium. 

“We knew we can bounce back. We have the players to take us to the final. Once we got the first two goals Maybank needed to come out and we made good use in the counter attacks,”said THT head coach Sarjit Singh at a post-match press conference.

“As for the final, I strongly believe we have the chance to win the double again but it won’t be easy as KLHC have been playing well since losing the Premier League title,” he added.

He added that all the players are free of any injury for the final.

Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club held back the best part of their game plan against Sapura and settled for a drab 2-1 victory to move into the final.This will be K. Dharmaraj’s 15th final in the last 17 years as coach of the club which was first known as Arthur Andersen and then Ernst & Young.

“In the first-leg we went looking for goals and we know that the second leg will be difficult if the score in the first game was close. In today’s match we just tried to maintain our lead so that we don’t waste a lot of energy,” said Dharmaraj, who had lost in nine finals and won five.

“Whichever team we play in the final will be the same. The TNB Cup is a different ball game and what is important is if my team can perform in the final,” he added.

Pakistani Muhammad Imran took just nine minutes into the game to put Sapura ahead from a penalty corner while Razie Rahim equalised for KLHC before the conclusion of the first quarter and Ali Shan wrapped up the game with the winning goal in the 52nd minute.

Sapura’s coach Tai Beng Hai, however, laments his side’s defeat to an exhaustive fixture in the quarterfinals and semifinals stages which had virtually drained his players both physically and mentally.

“For a start we had to play two quarterfinals games and one semifinal. We played three tough matches in five days. It took a toll on my players. Today we played well but could not go any further,” said Beng Hai.

Sep 17, 2015

Irfan and Syafiq blow away THT

Underdogs Maybank struck a stunning blow to double champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) by securing a thrilling 5-3 victory in the first-leg semifinals of the TNB Cup 2015 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.

Coach S. Vellapan’s Maybank now go into Thursday’s second-leg semifinals show with a two-goal advantage.

Meanwhile, four-time champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) demolished Sapura Hockey Club 6-0 in the first-leg semifinal match. 

Pakistan’s Umar Bhutta scored a hat-trick (first, 12th and 29th minutes) from penalty corners and drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim nailed the fourth in the 30th minute in similar fashion while Ahmad Ajaz (54th) and Dedi Aryadi(58th) added to Sapura’s misery.

It was Sapura’s third match within a space of six days after having seen tough matches in the home-and-away quarterfinals ties earlier while KLHC returned to the pitch after a 10-day respite.

“My boys played with a strong desire to win knowing that THT is one of the strongest sides in the tournament. The boys were fantastic and worked hard for this victory,” said Vellapan in a post-match interview.

“But a two-goal advantage is not enough to hold against a THT side. We have to go all out for more goals as this is a good opportunity to make or break,” he added.

THT named Pabllo Javier Trevisan and Jose Leandro Tiloni, two of their four Argentinean players in the starting line-up and Pakistani Ammad Shakeel Butt while Maybank had Pakistan’s national team goalkeeper Imran Butt, Muhammad Irfan, Shafqat Rasool and India’s Deepanshu Bhargav on parade.

And in a classic stage of ‘Penalty Corners Fair’, it was Maybank who surprised the favourites by taking a 3-1 lead by the end of the second quarter with a brace from Irfan(14th and 27th minutes) and Hafifi hafiz Hanafi’s 23rd minute penalty stroke.

THT, who had outclassed Maybank 5-1 and 3-2 respectively in their two-leg Premier Division matches, leveled the score 1-1 through Faizal Shaari in the 17th minute off a penalty corner after Irfan’sopening strike.

Stunned by the early setback, THT coach Sarjit Singh replaced National No 3 goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman with Mohamed Hazrul Faiz two minutes before the end of the second quarter.

But that move did not help THT’s cause as Maybank continued to pulverize the east coast giants with another mesmerizing performance in the third quarter.

This time it was Mohamad Syafiq Zain who turned in a powerful reverse stick shot into the top of the net in the 42nd minute to give Maybank an unassailable 4-1 lead much to the surprise of their own fans and THT.

However, the best of THT was only put on show in a thrilling end as they struck back with goals from Tengku Ahmad Tajuddinin the 45th minute and Faizal made it 4-3 five minutes later, bringing his personal goal tally to 15 in the tournament.

THT went on the search for the equalizer to force a draw with numerous attacks and were rewarded five penalty corners in the last seven minutes of play only to see goalkeeper Imran frustrating all attempts.

And in a sudden burst of counter attack, it was Syafiq who powered Maybank in the closing chapter of the match withhis precision touch for a field goal in the 59th minute to give his side the most celebrated victory.

Sarjit, however, laments that fans have not seen the last of THT.

“We will bounce back in the return-leg on Thursday. We had numerous chances to even win this match but fell back. It’s not over yet,” said Sarjit, adding that all of his players are free of injuries.

Sep 14, 2015

Sapura and Maybankgo through

A rejuvenated Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) defied the odds to beat Sapura Hockey Club 3-2 in the second-leg quarterfinals of the TNB Cup but failed to advance beyond at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was Arul Selvaraj’s UniKL’s first ever win in the TNBMHL 2015 season in 12 matches but one that simply came too late.

Sapura, buoyed by the 3-0 win in the first-leg quarterfinals tie, advancedto Tuesday’s first-leg
semifinals on a 5-3 aggregate score. They are set to meet four-time champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club.

In another quarterfinal match, Maybank once again came out of the shadow of
TenagaNasionalBerhad (TNB) to carve a 3-2 victory (aggregate 5-3)and stepped into the semifinals for a gigantic battle against double champions Terengganu Hockey Team.

S. Vellapan’s Maybank, who lost to TNB 1-2 in both home and away Premier Division matches,scrapped through the first-leg quarterfinals tie 2-1 over their nemesis.

Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin gave Maybank a 14th minute penalty corner goal lead but Muhamad Sharil Saabah equalised for TNB in the 27th minute from a penalty corner.

With both teams chasing for a big win, it was Maybank who went ahead 2-1 in the 42nd minute as Hafifi hafiz Hanafi sounded the board from a goalmouth melee and AhmadKazamirul struck again five minutes after the start of the third quarter to extend Maybank’s lead to 3-1.

TNB, however, staged a gallant fight back after this and Muhamad Ramadan Rosli closed the gap at 3-2 in the 52nd minute from a penalty corner much to the delight of the TNB fans. As the match went into top gear, it was Maybank who stood defiant and marched into the last eight.

Pakistan’s import Muhammad Imran, who scored a brace against UniKL in the first-leg quarterfinals, was once again on target in this second round encounter, scoring just five minutes into the game from a penalty corner.

It was the 35-year-old Imran, captain ofPakistan’s national team at the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Belgium in July,third goal against UniKL in this quarterfinals encounter and his seventh in the TNBMHL 2015 season.

UniKL clawed back from that early deficit to draw level 1-1 through Muhammad Azwar Abdul Rahman after Imran’s opener from a field goal and by the 14th minute Sapura went 2-1 up thanks to Faridzul Afiq’s field goal.

But UniKL were far from done and were on track firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Richard Sykes penalty corner conversion in the 43rd minute and Mohamad Haziq Samsul’s field goal two minutes later was celebrated by the UniKL camp as never have they produced such scintillating and determined performance as they did tonight.

And if there was anyone in the Sapura line-up who deserved all the accolades for stomping UniKL’s many more chances at scoring more goals towards the end of the match it was their goalkeeper Mohamed Hairi Abdul Rahman.

Hairi parried away five penalty corner attempts, of which three were certain of going into the net, to deny UniKL of a bigger win.

“It was a well-deserved win for UniKL although it came at our last match today. The players gave all their best and this augurs well for some of our national junior players,” said UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj.

“To me, the man of the match was Sapura goalkeeper (Hairi). He was everywhere stopping the ball from going in the net. We had so many chances towards the end but he stopped us,” added Arul.

While the show ends here for UniKL, a bigger stage awaits Sapura when they face K. Dharmaraj’s KLHC in the semifinals.

Sapura’s head coach, Tai HengHai, laments: “I think generally having a 3-0 lead we just want to qualify for the semifinals. We don’t want to make it any difficult as the semifinal is on Tuesday and we have played four games in seven days.”

“KLHC would have got a good rest and we will take it from here. It was a tough match today but we held on to win. There were several chances that came our way today but for now we will focus on our next game now,” he added.

Sep 13, 2015

Deepanshu lifts Maybank; Sapura delight

India’s Deepanshu Bhargav fired home a late goal to give Maybank a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Tenaga Nasional Berhad in the first-leg quarterfinals of the TNB Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday.

Bhargav scored the winning goal in the 59th minute – his first in the TNBMHL 2015 season, after

Azril Miron, the younger brother of national and Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) defender Azlan put TNB ahead in the fifth minute and Hafifi hafiz Hanafi drew level for Maybank from a penalty corner before the end of the third quarter.

Maybank, who went down twice to TNB with scores of 1-2 respectively in the Premier Division, go into the second-leg quarterfinals on Sunday with a one-goal advantage.

Sapura Hockey Club continued its domination over Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) by cruising to a 3-0 win in the first-leg quarterfinals match tonight. Pakistan’s Muhammad Imran scored two penalty corner goals (5th and 7th) and Norsyafiq Sumantri added the third in the 25th minute from a field goal.

In the Premier Division League matches that concluded last week, Sapura won the first leg 2-1 and
edged UniKL3-2 in the return match.

“It was a brilliant fight back from the players. They showed a lot of grit and determination to pull through against TNB after having lost twice in the Premier Division,” said Maybank coach Vellapan at a post-match press conference.

“But we are expecting TNB to come back strongly in the second-legand we will carry on the challenge. It was Deepanshu’s first goal this season and we are all motivated by this win,” added Vellapan.

The haze enveloping an area in Bukit Jalil this evening which recorded an Air Pollutant Index(API) reading of 275 by the National Sports Institute as of 5pm which is deemed far above normal had earlier threatened the first-leg quarterfinals proceedings.

However, it started as scheduled and got off to a fast pace with both TNB and Maybank making quick inroads but it was TNB who went to take the lead through Azril. On the opposite end, Maybank had two penalty corners but failed to capitalise on it.

TNB, however, were reduced to 10 men in the 44th minute after Azril was sentto sin bin for five minutes by umpire Mohammad Rohizan Ramli while Maybank’sAhmad Kazamirul Nasruddin followed suit two minutes into the third quarter for an infringement outside the TNB semicircle.

Nor SaifulZaini, the TNB head coach, said: “Maybank played a good game with a different strategy. My players are young and could not capitalise on this change. Overall we had many chances too but when you don’t score there’s nothing anyone can do.”

“I want performance from my players in the return-leg. We still have got a chance to qualify for the semifinals. This is a young team and today they failed to hold on to the game. They were out and could not come back,” added Nor Saiful, who was disappointed with the final score as TNB had the psychological edge over Maybank prior to this match.

Sep 11, 2015

UITM hit six goals past ATM Airod to lift title

UITM are the TNBMHL 2015 Division One League champions following an incredible comeback in the fourth quarter to seal a 6-1 victory over ATM Airod at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Coached by K. Gobinathan, UITM who finished top of Group B with a one-goal advantage despite sharing 23 equal points with ATM Airod at the conclusion of the preliminary round matches, took home the winner’s purse of RM20,000 while ATM Airod settled for RM15,000.

Earlier in the day, TNB Thunderbolt defeated Ipoh City Council 4-1 to take third spot which come with a prize money of RM7,000 while Ipoh City Council received RM3,000.

“We know ATM Airod play a fast game and we were cautious in the first quarter. However, when they started opening up their game in the third quarter this allowed our forwards to score from quick counter attacks,” said Gobinathan.

“This is a relatively new team and I am proud of their fighting spirit and finishing touch to score six goals. It’s an amazing victory for us today. As for the President’s Cup, we will take a rest in the next two days before even thinking about it. The players are very exhausted,” he added.

UITM grabbed a 14th minute lead through Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazri’s penalty corner. ATM Airod, who emerged champions in the 2012 edition of the league, however, had their fair share of opportunities to equalise but squandered the many chances that came their way.

It was only in the 41st minute that UITM extended the lead to 2-0 after Mohamed Khairul Ikhwan struck home from a penalty corner before allowing ATM Airod to claw back through Mohamed Fahmi Abdullah from a field goal four minutes later.

But UITM continued to produce a mesmerising performance at the start of the fourth quarter by scoring four more field goals which totally dampened ATM Airod’s plans of any fight back. The scorers were Mohamed Asraf Bahari (54th), Muhammad Syafiq Zulzairin (56th and 64th) and Mohamed Hafify Mohd Rodzi (62nd).

Meanwhile, TNB Thunderbolt grabbed a 3-0 lead going into the fourth quarter of the match with goals from Muhammad Fariq Saadon (7th, field goal), Muhammad Fikri Bassar (35th, penalty stroke) and Zulhamizan Awang Abas (47th, field goal) before Ipoh City Council pulled one back in the 54th minute through Shahrusahadan Basri’s field goal.

Towards the end of the match, it was TNB Thunderbolt who kept the pressure on their opponents and was rewarded with a penalty corner which Muhammad Sabri Mohamed duly converted to give his side a comfortable 4-1 victory.

It was Sabri’s 10th goal in the 2015 Division One league which makes him the current leading scorer.

Sep 7, 2015

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin stars as THT shock KLHC

Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) celebrated a 5-4 victory over Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) to clinch the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division title at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Friday.

It was a night to cherish for the 5,000 fans as they cheered THT players – especially their two-goal hero Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin who produced a mesmerising performance to shut out KLHC and avenge the 6-2 Charity Shield defeat as the players received the Premier Division Trophy from Terengganu Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.\

All THT needed tonight was a draw to lift the title as little separated the two teams. THT had amassed 24 points after nine matches and KLHC pooled 23 points going into the final. Sarjit Singh’s THT and K. Dharmaraj’s KLHC, however, made no secret of their desire to win three points which would be good enough to leapfrog one another for the title.

But it was THT who ran away with the trophy, thanks to Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin’s last minute strike from a penalty corner which gave the host victory by 5-4 after both teams were deadlocked at 4-4 until the 50th minute. THT also picked the winners cheque of RM70,000 while KLHC settled for RM50,000 and a bruised pride.

“From the beginning we know that this game is going to be very difficult. We had expected this match to be very close. Our target was to get three points and win this match. Unfortunately we missed two penalty strokes and one open goal,” said Sarjit.

“Nevertheless we are excited with this win. The boys were mentally very strong to hang in there at 4-4 before putting KLHC on the off side with the clock ticking away. Even a draw would have given us the title but to win in this fashion is very satisfying. We will now look towards the TNB Cup,” he added.

The hosts, double champions last year, were down by a fourth minute field goal by Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Noor who gave the four-time champions the lead with a superbly executed field goal.

Buoyed by the presence of the Menteri Besar, State Exco chairman for Youth and Sports, Dato’ Rozi Mamat, President of Terengganu HA Dato’ Wan Ahmad Nizam Abdul Hamid and an estimated 5,000 hockey-loving fans from all walks of life, THT were back on the groove and firing on all cylinders moments later.

They earned six penalty corners which proved their dominance in the first quarter over KLHC. The fans had an early celebration when Azlan Misron equalised in the fifth minute for THT but this was duly cancelled after KLHC had called for a referral to protest the goal.

And it took just three minute later for THT to go into celebration mode when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin nailed home the much needed equaliser from a penalty corner and Mohd Fitri Saari got the fans all excited by converting a penalty stroke seconds before the end of the first quarter. THT led 2-1 for the first time and the Terengganu fans loved it.

THT could have extended the lead in the second quarter but squandered two great opportunities. First it was Mohamed Firhan Ashari who failed to put the ball into goal after sidestepping goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin in a one-on-one situation while Fitri Saari made nought of a 27th minute penalty stroke.

Firhan, however, made amends with his earlier blunder to extend THT’s lead to 3-1 with a 32nd minute field goal only to see KLHC bounce back to level at 3-3 through drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim in the 34th and 47th minutes from penalty corners.

Not to be outdone, THT went on the attack and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 49th minute and Faizal Shaari knocked home to make it 4-3 – his 14th goal in the Premier Division but the much determined KLHC were up and running the very next moment to draw level at 4-4 as Muhammad Noor Faeez scored from a penalty corner much to the cheers of KLHC bench.

However, the 2010-2013 champions were left in cold when THT were awarded a third penalty stroke in the 53rd minute but this time Firhan’s push from the spot was saved by Roslan who was in his element.

But the night belonged to THT who not only overcame a ferocious comeback from KLHC but in the process produced a rousing performance in front of the capacity crowd at the Batu Buruk Stadium to steal the show with the minutes ticking away.

THT were awarded a last minute penalty corner and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin made it count with a simple push past Roslan to guide his team to their consecutive Premier Division title.

At the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Sapura downed Universiti Kuala Lumpur 3-2 to finish third in the Premier Division which earned the club RM40,000 in prize money.

It was UniKL who took a 2-0 lead with goals from Muhammad Sufi Ismail (11th) and Muhammad Nazmi Farizal (33rd) but Sapura hit back with three goals – Dangerous Lee providing the early push in the 40th minute while Muhammad Marhan Jalil (58th) and Pakistan’s Muhamad Imran (59th) charged through with two late goals to salvage Sapura’s pride.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad also produced an incredible late comeback show to pull off a 2-1 win over Maybank to finish fourth in the table standings on 15 points while Maybank finished in fifth position (4) and UniKL placed at the basement with just one point.

Pakistan’s import Mohamed Toseef put Maybank ahead with an 18th minute field goal but TNB replied with goals from Nik Muhammad Aiman (21st) and Norhizzat Sumantri (37th).

Sep 3, 2015

Hafifihafiz, Waqas steer Maybank out of trouble

Hafifihafiz Hanafi and Muhammad Waqas scored two goals each as Maybank ploughed through a 4-4 draw against Universiti Kuala Lumpur in the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

With the final round of the Premier Division concluding this Friday and the eventual champions to be decided in Kuala Terengganu between heavyweights Terengganu Hockey Team and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, the encounter between Maybank-UniKL today was of no significance to their title hopes.

The draw did not do any good to either team as Maybank are already ‘comfortably locked’ in fifth position with four points and UniKL continue to rock at the bottom of the table standings with just a single point to show having lost in all eight earlier matches.

UniKL took to the field without head coach Arul Selvaraj who was hours earlier served with a three-match suspension by the Technical Committee of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation for misconduct after the August 30 match against Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

Joining Arul in the dock were UniKL player S. Selvaraju, Sapura team manager Louis Gregory and coach Tai Beng Hai. All three were, however, served with a one-match suspension.

The Technical Committee was headed by Dato’ G. Vijayanathan, who is also the Tournament Director of the TNB Malaysian Hockey League.

With Arul up in the terrace, UniKL produced a remarkable opening act to go one-up through Manraj Singh with a 14th minute field goal and Richard Sykes added the second in the 21st minute off a penalty corner.

Maybank pulled one back through Muhammad Waqas just one minute before the end of the second quarter but Mohamad Haziq Samsul increased UniKL’s domination three minute later from a field goal.

But the match went Maybank’s way after this as Hafifi hafiz knocked two quick goals (32nd and 33rd) to draw level at 3-3 before Pakistan’s Waqas gave Maybank a 4-3 lead for the first time with a 42nd minute field goal.

UniKL were, however, far from finished and had the final say through Izwan Firdaus who packed a powerful shot past Pakistan’s national team goalkeeper Imran Buttto force this draw.

Sep 1, 2015

Sapura derail‘Comeback Kings’ KLHC bid for title

Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) clawed back from two goals down to hold Sapura to a 4-4 draw in a high intensity match of the TNBMHL 2015 Premier Division at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Friday .

The draw – KLHC’s second in the league, derailed the 2010-2013 champions impeccable run in the 2015 season and K.Dharmaraj’s charges now face the toughest hurdle of ending double champions Terengganu Hockey Team’s (THT) dream run on Friday which will decide the eventual champions at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

Sarjit Singh’s THT leapfrogged KLHC to top the table standings with 24 points following a narrow 3-2 victory over Maybank on home turf tonight while KLHC amassed 23 points.

National forward Faizal Saari kept THT on top by the 38th minute from a penalty corner and added the second in the 55th (FG)before closing the day with a hat-trick (60th), making him the Premier Division’s leading scorer to date with 13 goals.Maybank replied through Muhammad Irfan(58th) and Hafifihafiz Hanafi (60th).

The east coast giants, however, hold the edge over KLHC going into the final lap of the Premier Division. Sapura, who held KLHC also to a 3-3 draw in the first leg, are poised to finish third in the six-team league ahead of Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

“The players took it easy and we were punished with two goals early in the game but we recovered to hold on to this draw despite having so many opportunities,” said Dharmaraj. “A draw is as good as a defeat for me and we must now go to Terengganu looking for a win.”

“It would have been the entire better if we had sealed today’s match with a win. I am not looking at the 6-2 win over THT in the Charity Shield as any consolation before our match on Friday but THT were not what they have made out to be. They are capable of beating us by the same score and this is going to be a very tough match,” added Dharmaraj.

Dangerous Lee Mathew, a former national junior trainee, came on field in the sixth minute and took just two minutes to stun KLHC and national No 2 goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin with a field goal while Faridzul Afiq made it 2-0 by the 12th minute in similar fashion.

KLHC, dubbed the ‘Comeback Kings’, pulled one back through Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof a minute later before Harvinder Singh leveled the score at 2-2 by the 15th minute - slotting the ball past goalkeeper Mohammed Hairi Abdul Rahman in a goal-mouth melee.

Lee, however, came back to haunt KLHC two minutes into the end of the second quarter with another field goal to give Sapura the lead for the third time before Norsyafiq Sumantri produced another of his scintillating performance to snuff the challenge out of KLHC with a 38th field goal, giving his side an unassailable 4-2 lead over one of the best teams in the league.

The match was, however, stopped in the 41st minute due to rain and upon resumption 30 minutes later it was KLHC who went on the offensive and were rewarded in the 53rd minute through NabilFiqri’s field goal and Pakistan’s Ali Shan continued the fight back to level 4-4 with a 57th penalty corner.

What was to be the biggest upset in the Premier Division by Sapura eventually turned anti-climax as KLHC went on to maintain their unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, TNB defeated Arul Selvaraj’s Universiti Kuala Lumpur 4-3 tonight. UniKL scorers are Muhammad Azwar Abdul Rahman(18th), S. Selvaraju (43nd) and Muhammad Najmi Farizal (52nd) while TNB replied through Muhammad Amirol Aideed (38th), Muhammad Shahril Saabah (41st), Muhammad Aminudin Mohd Zain (53rd) and Nik Muhammad Aiman (60th).

UniKL, however, will meet Maybank in the abandoned first-leg match on Wednesday before concluding their Premier Division fixtures against Sapura on Friday at the National Hockey Stadium.