PERAK and Kuala Lumpur will square off for the second consecutive year in the National Under-14 hockey tournament at the Kuantan Stadium today.
Kuala Lumpur beat Penang 2-1, while Perak beat Negri Sembilan also 2-1 in the other semi-finals.
Last year, Perak walked away with the title, but KL are expected to make life difficult for the champions today.
Penang took the lead off Syamil Sazali in the 14th minute Zulhafiq Hashim leveled the score with a 33rd minute penalty corner.
And the KL winner was delivered by Norsyafiq Sumantri in the 52nd minute.
And in the second semis, Negri took the lead in the ninth minute off Badrul Hisham, but Perak replied two minutes later off Ashran Hamsani and then the winner was delivered by Najib Hassan in the 53rd minute.
KL coach K. Rajan plotted Penang’s first defeat after five matches, by blanking out their centre-forward Azwar Rahim.
“I noticed that centre-forward Azwar was the life-line for Penang in all their previous matches, as he could beat afew players before making deft passes to the forward-line.
“I placed my centre-forward Nur Azrul Rahman to mark him, and my boy took him out of the match, and Penang fell apart,” said Rajan.
Perak team manager Azahar Ismail attributed the win to team-work: “We are in the final because the boys had a great understanding today, but in the final, I believe our chances are 50-50, because KL are the most improved team since the tournament started.
RESULTS: Semi-finals -- Kuala Lumpur 2 Penang 1, Negri Sembilan 1 Perak 2.
TODAY: Final: Kuala Lumpur v Perak (5pm); Third-Fourth: Penang v Negri Sembilan (3pm).