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.