UniKL sink TNB with three second half goals
Kuala Lumpur (18 January, 2019): Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) made a stupendous comeback from a goal down to sink Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) 3-1 in the TNB-MHL Premier League match at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi today.
There was a lot of promise of an exciting encounter between the two sides, who last played each other at the semi-finals stage of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup on January 4 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. TNB emerged victorious then with a 3-0 win.
UniKL, backed by six of their foreign signings, also saw the return of Ireland goalkeeper David Harte following a mild thigh injury. Leading their campaign in midfield and defence are the Dutch trio of Martijn Havenga, Valentin Verga and Robbert Kemperman whilst Australians Kieran Govers and Timothy Deavin also played pivotal roles.
On the local front, national team captain Sukri Abdul Mutalib, UniKL captain Marhan Mohd Jalil and drag-flick specialist Razie Abdul Rahim gave their best as UniKL secured three points.
In other matches, South Korean Jang Jong-Hyun scored a hat-trick in Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) 6-1 win over Nur Insafi at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu and Maybank downed TNB Thunderbolts 3-1 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
UniKL and THT share seven-equal points from two wins and a draw but the east coast team lead the table standings with a better goal difference. TNB dropped to third spot and Maybank in fourth position in the seven-team league despite sharing si-equal points.
“Disappointing from the way we started this game. I think we gave a lot of space to TNB. TNB is a team with World Cup and Junior Olympic players. They took advantage in the first half and after a goal down UniKL stepped on the pressure to get the three goals,” said UniKL coach A. Arul Selvaraj.
“It was a great comeback from the players who are very experienced in this kind of situation and for me it was a worthy win in our first match playing in our own stadium,” he added.
Playing on home turf for the first time in the league, it was UniKL who had the first shy at the goal in the fourth minute but Verga’s soft push went wide.
But it was TNB who scored first when Syarman Mat Tee’s placed the ball past Harte for a field goal. TNB went on to earn three penalty corners in the first half but failed to utilise the opportunities.
After an uneventful first half, UniKL turned on the power in the second half, earned three penalty corners in the process but were denied by their own failure to make a clean stop of the ball in the circle from a push on the line.
Pumped up by their ability to manoeuvre deep into TNB fortress, UniKL went all out in search of the equaliser and were rewarded in the 42nd minute when drag-flick specialist Razie deflected a reverse stick shot from Verga past goalkeeper S. Kumar.
TNB threw back a strong challenge in the last few seconds of the third quarter and their efforts bore fruit at the hooter with a penalty corner but lacked the finishing touch.
UniKL, however, made an astonishing comeback in the fourth quarter of the game when Havenga extended the lead via a penalty corner in the 53rd minute and Muhammad Hafiz Zainol added the third four minutes later from a field goal.
TNB head coach, Nur Saiful Zaini, echoed: “In the first and second quarters we controlled the game. But we missed a lot of chances too. Towards the end of the third and fourth quarters UniKL started piling the pressure and found the going easy by scoring three goals. I think overall the younger boys had a good game against a very strong side.”
UniKL’s next match is against Nur Insafi (January 25) at the same venue at the same venue and TNB Thunderbolts (January 27) and the National Hockey stadium.
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