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).

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