High riding UniKL pound TNB again!
Kuala Lumpur (10 February, 2019): Universiti Kuala Lumpur dispatched Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) 4-2 and tightened the grip on the 2019 Malaysian Hockey Premier League title at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium today.
Arul Selvaraj’s UniKL, who won the first round of the encounter 3-1 against Nor Saiful Zaini’s TNB, came back strongly in the second half with three goals to triumph and in the process consolidated their position at the top of the pool with 25 points from nine matches.
TNB are in second spot with 21 points after nine matches and face an uphill task of realising their hopes of defending the title with three matches remaining. Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) remains in third spot (16 points) and Maybank in fourth position (15 points).
Charity Shield winner THT defeated Sungai Petani-based Nur Insafi 5-3 while Maybank edged TNB Thunderbolts 2-1 respectively.
“Credit to TNB for dominating much of the first half against us and I believe our foreign players turned the game around for us. Their experience made a lot of difference and together with our national players we managed to win,” said UniKL coach Arul.
“I am very impressed with some of our junior players especially Ashran who has been with the team for the last seven years and is playing exceptionally well.”
A dejected Nor Saiful, said: “I have given up hope of winning the title. We will focus on finishing second as UniKL are just too good and a powerful team and they will go all the way to win the title.”
“The difference in today’s match is experience. We had lots of chances in the second quarter but UniKL had the experience to turn the game around,” he said.
It was UniKL that fired the first salvo with a 10th minute field goal through Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin following a goalmouth melee but TNB were simply electrifying as they charged back with Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil restoring parity in the 15th minute with a reverse stick shot from the left that sailed past goalkeeper David Harte.
UniKL, however, were taken to task by TNB three minute into the second quarter with just nine players on the field after Australian Kieran Givers (18th minute) and Dutchman Robbert Kemperman (19th minute) were sent to the sin bin for green and yellow card offences.
In a quick counter attack, TNB earned their first penalty corner and Norshafiq Sumantri made no mistake with a push past Harte to extend their lead 2-1 in the 20th minute.
The second half got off to another roaring fashion by both teams but it was just a tale of near misses until UniKL’s search for the equaliser was answered in the 43rd minute.
Drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim calmly converted by placing the ball past goalkeeper S. Kumar to level 2-2, Govers extended the lead 3-2 in the 47th minute with a field goal and Mohamed Asran Hamsani crushed TNB’s hopes in the 55th in a similar strike to win 4-2.
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