ERNST & YOUNG beat National Juniors 5-2 in the Asian Champion Clubs Cup at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium yesterday, but the score-line does not describe the match.
Ernst & Young took a 2-0 lead by the 23rd minute, but the National Juniors shocked the gallery by drawing level, only to lose out on inexperience.
Baljit Singh scored off a penalty corner attempt in the 17th minute, and Ismail Abu made it 2-0 with a field attempt in the 23rd minute, and the Juniors looked like they were heading for another 7-0 hiding like they did in the Malaysia Hockey League.
Juniors skipper Ahmad Kazamirul started a fight-back with a penalty corner goal in the 35th minute, and after the breather 16-year-old Kavin Kartik scored the equaliser in the 47th minute.
But that was as far as they went, as Ernst & Young who had 12 senior national players, showed more urgency and nailed three points with goals from Chua Boon Huat (52nd), Zulkifli Rejab (64th) and Baljit Singh closed accounts with a penalty stroke in the 65th minutes.
In another match, Olympian Village Club of Pakistan beat Adijon of Uzbekistan 3-0 with goals from Mahmood Ali (28th and 61st) and Muhammad Tousiq (38th).
But both the Pakistan and Uzbekistan tems looked like amateurs, and Ernst & Young should have no problems lifting the title on Sunday.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah watched the senior and junior teams in action for the first time, and felt there is room for improvement.
“My first impression after watching national juniors and seniors play is that both play attacking hockey and there is room for improvement, especially in fitness and strength,” said Tengku Abdullah.
He is still optimistic, that his target of taking Malaysia into the 10 to five bracket in the world by the 2012 London Olympics is achievable.
“With help from fitness coaches and nutritionist, I feel this team can improve further and MHF’s target is achievable.”
Tengku Abdullah, on his way out, was then shown the pathetic Education Ministry hockey pitch which looks more like an old carpet dump-site than a hockey pitch.
“This is a nice venue (the second pitch) and please bring it up in the council meeting (on Saturday) and lets see what can be done about it,” said Tengku Abdullah.
The Education Ministry pitch has been in a deplorable state for the past two years and millions have gone down the drain trying to repair it, but the the artificial turf refuses to stick, and keeps floating.
RESULTS -- Group A: Ernst & Young 5 National Juniors 2; Group B: Olympian Village Club 3 Adijon 0.
TODAY: Group A: Royal Thai Airforce v National Juniors (3pm); Group B: Singapore Recreation Club v Olympian Village Club (5pm).
Tomorrow: Group A: Ernst & Young v Royal Thai Airforce (3pm); Group B: Singapore Recreation Club v Adijon (5pm).
Sunday: Final -- 5pm; Third-Fourth: 3pm.