Kuala Lumpur (19 February, 2017): Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) lifted the TNBMHL 2017 Premier League title following a 3-2 victory over three-time champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium today.
And it was Germany’s Anton Poul Fritz Ebeling who turned the night into a harrowing moment for Sarjit Singh’s THT who were aiming for their fourth consecutive title since 2014.
Both teams were tied at 2-2 by the 51st minute and THT was well on the way to their fourth title as all the east coast side needed was a draw to pull away from KLHC as they had a 21-goal advantage over the 2013 champions prior to the start of the match after sharing 33-equal points.
But KLHC were all fired up and went on the offensive in the final lap of the match, earned a penalty corner with five seconds remaining to the hooter and Fritz Ebeling turned the ball into goal to give KLHC victory once again after a four-year wait.
It was KLHC who surprised THT with a seventh minute field goal through Muhammad Noor Faaez Ibrahim but Korean Jang Jonghyun rose to the occasion once again to score his 18th penalty corner goal in the league to draw level at 1-1 before Nabil Fiqri doubled the score for KLHC in the 43rd minute.
In one of the most entertaining match fans had seen between the two sides, THT clawed back with a 51st minute equaliser through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil, giving hope of a THT victory until Fritz Ebeling’s devilish intervention dashed all hopes.
In Tuesday’s semi-finals for the TNB Cup, KLHC goes into showdown with fourth place Tenaga Nasional Berhad whilst THT takes on University Kuala Lumpur at the Tun Razak Stadium.
“This victory has been very sweet for me personally and KLHC. Since the first match of the League, I have been preparing the team for today’s crucial tie. THT are a highly respected side in the league and a win over them today calls for celebration,” said KLHC head coach Muhammad Harun Alrashid Samri.
UniKL finished third in the Premier Division following a 1-0 victory over Tenaga Nasional Berhad in an earlier match at the KLHA Stadium whilst in Malacca, Maybank defeated University Teknologi MARA-KPT (UiTM) 3-1 at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium to claim fifth place in the League.
TNB Thunderbolts suffered a 2-1 defeat against Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Bandar Penawar to finish sixth with 13 points followed by SSTMI (5) and UiTM-KPT is at the bottom with two points.
TNB had only themselves to blame as they squandered eight penalty corners – with two in the final three minutes of the match against UniKL.
But credit must go to UniKl who pocketed RM40,000 for their effort as they played a good tactical and disciplined game to outwit the more experienced TNB side.
“It is a good win and one that I hope will boost the confidence of the players as we head for the semi-finals," said UniKL coach A. Arul Selvaraj. “Credit must go to the players for their determination and our defenders too played a key role.”
UniKL were without defender Baljit Singh who had a sore hamstring and will be rested for Tuesday’s semi-finals for the TNB Cup. Also left today out was Pakistani defender Muhammad Aleem Bilal who was down with fever and flu.
But the university side played to their strength, attacking and defending in numbers. UniKL took the lead in the 12th minute through a penalty corner converted by Najmi Farizal Jazlan.
TNB could have equalised just before the end of the first quarter but the penalty corner attempt by Shahril Sabah was blocked by UniKL goalkeeper Thomas Santiago.
Try as they did, TNB just could not find a way past the Argentinean goalkeeper in the UniKL goal.