KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club were finally brought down to earth at the Tun Razak Stadium when Maybank held them to a 1-1 draw in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division yesterday.
It was KLHC’s first blemish after seven matches, but coach R. Vivekanandan sees it as a blessing instead.
KLHC took the lead off Amirullah Aziz in the 12th minute, but Hairul Nizam equalised for the Tigers in the 52nd minute.
The match was an interesting affair, as KLHC had 33 shots at goal but could only score one, while Maybank only had 13 shots at goal, but managed to steal a point off the leaders.
“We had plenty of opportunities in the semi-circle, and also five penalty corners but failed to collect maximum points.
“However, I believe every team has its off day, and I am glad it came at this stage. The fault was not on fitness or skills, but mental strength, and I will address this before we head to Johor next weekend,” said Vivekanandan.
Maybank coach S. Velappan attributed the draw to: “It was a burning desire to win, which saw my players come back after a goal down to hold the tournament favourites.”
The Tigers know, realistically, KLHC is too far ahead to chase, so they will be in a battle with Tenaga and Sapura for the second spot.
“The fight for the second spot is valuable, as we will have an easier quarter-finals draw, avoiding KLHC in the last eight,” said Velappan.
Maybank goalkeeper Hakim Adnan, 21, a junior World Cup player, brought off some excellent saves from shots by national forwards Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Ismail Abu and Kelvinder Singh.
Tenaga Nasional kept the second spot in sight when they blasted Nur Insafi 6-1.
The Tenaga goals were scored by Faizal Shaari (15th, 37th, 41st), Sallehin Ghani (32nd), Tajol Rosli (44th) and Fairuz Ramli (51st).
Kul Bushan scored the consolation for Nur Insafi in the 53rd minute.
RESULTS: KL Hockey Club 1 Maybank 1, Nur Insafi 1 Tenaga Nasional 6, UniKL 0 Sapura 1.
P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 7 6 1 0 25 8 19
TENAGA 7 5 0 2 19 7 15
MAYBANK 7 3 3 1 14 9 12
SAPURA 7 3 2 2 15 10 11
UNIKL 7 0 1 6 2 19 1
NUR INSAFI 7 0 1 6 8 30 1