Monday, February 1, 2010

Maybank squeeze into semis

Sapura’s Jiwa Mohan (left) tussles with Nur Insafi’s S.Kamalanaathen for the ball in their second leg quarter-final match yesterday. Nur Insafi won 1-0 but Sapura advanced into the semi-finals on a 4-2 aggregate. — Pic: OSMAN ADNAN

MAYBANK just made it to the semi-finals of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Pemier Division when they edged UniKL-IBIL 2-0 in the second leg quarter-final at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
The Tigers had an aggregate of 5-3 and will face Tenaga Nasional who hammered UiTM 7-0 for a 9-0 aggregate win.
In the other quarters, Sapura, who already have a 4-1 cushion, took it easy in the return leg and lost 1-0 to Nur Insafi but advanced 4-2 on aggregate to play Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club in the semi-finals.
KLHC, who hammered ATM-Airod 10-2 in the first leg, beat them 7-3 to qualify on a 17-5 aggregate.
Maybank took the lead in the 13th minute when Hairul Nizam was on target off a penalty corner, and Hairul delivered again in the 60th minute to seal the match.
However, Maybank coach S. Valappan agreed that is was not an easy win.

"UniKL deserve credit for playing good hockey but we had experience on our side and that counted. It was a shaky match after we took the lead as UniKL had many chances and could have levelled the score.
"We took the tough route as we squandered many penalty corner chances and will have to work on that in the next week for the semis," said Velappan.
UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran said Maybank players were clever in generating faults, which killed his team's chances.
"Some of the faults which earned Maybank the goals and also crucial penalty corners were results of manufactured faults.
"Maybank players fell even though my players did not have any contact with them. But that is part of the game, and I accept the defeat in good spirit," said Vickneswaran.
However, considering his team have an average age of 22, Vickneswaran feels there is future in this team.
"If this set of players are kept together and play again in the MHL next season, I believe they will be the team to watch."
Tenaga Nasional, who had a 2-0 cushion from the first leg, let loose their forwards and nailed seven more goals.

Amin Rahim (eighth, 69th), Izwan Firdaus (10th, 46th), Shazril Irwan (48th, 58th) and Anwar Ali (62nd) delivered for Tenaga.