Saturday, January 16, 2010

KLHC claim Legue title

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club played in patches yesterday, but still managed to edge Sapura 1-0 to lift the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division League title at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
KLHC still have one match in hand against Tenaga next weekend, but it makes no difference even if they lose, as Tenaga will still be short of one point.
Sapura players, who have been struggling to find their form, frustrated KLHC by holding onto the ball for long periods, and former national skipper S. Kuhan slowed down the match to a snail’s pace.
Sapura were expected to crumble meekly as they were without two national players. Jiwa Mohan tied the knot in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and his brother Jivan was also excused from the match.
And it was still 0-0 with six minutes remaining, when KLHC finally found the elusive goal.
Defender Razie Rahim’s penalty corner flick, a direct attempt, finally landed them the League title in an otherwise poor match.
KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan describes the first half as a disaster, and saluted Sapura for giving them a good fight.
“It was a disastrous 35 minutes which we were lucky to survive because my team lost their structure.
“However, after the half-time briefing, the team were back in action and we nailed the League title with one match in hand,” said Vivekanandan.
“I salute Sapura because they gave us a good fight even though they played without Jiwa and Jivan.”
So what next: “We will strive to maintain our unbeaten record when we play our last League match against Tenaga in Malacca. And after that, I will plan to lift the overall title in the knock-out stages,” said Vivekanandan.
KLHC’s only blemish was a 1-1 draw with Maybank.
“Maybank woke up my players at the right time, and made them hungry for the League title. Now, I believe they will not disappoint in the quarter-finals.”
The six Premier Division teams will be joined by Division One champions UiTm and runners-up Armed Forces in the quarter-finals.
RESULTS: Nur Insafi 2 UniKL-Ibil 1, Sapura 0 KL Hockey Club 1, Tenaga Nasional x Maybank x.
All matches at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 9 8 1 0 31 9 25
TENAGA 8 6 0 2 21 8 18
MAYBANK 8 4 3 1 16 9 15
SAPURA 9 3 2 4 16 13 11
NUR INSAFI 9 1 1 7 10 33 4
UNIKL 9 0 1 8 5 26 1

Tenaga keep pressure on KLHC

Sapura’s Redzuan Ponirin (left) tackles TNB’s Faizal Saari in their MHL match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday. TNB won 2-1. — Pic: HAIRUL ANUAR ABD RAHIM.

TENAGA Nasional kept the second spot in sight when the edged Sapura 2-1 in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
The match was heading for a draw, after Faizal Shaari scored for Tenaga in the 33rd minute, but Sapura found the equaliser off Marhan Jalil in the 55th minute.
However, Amin Rahim turned hero for Tenaga Nasional when he converted a penalty corner in the 67th minute.
In another match, Maybank beat Nur Insafi 2-0 with goals from Engku Malek (50th) and Hafifi Hafiz (59th).
League leaders Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) maintained their grip when they beat UniKL-Ibil 5-1.
“The win has placed us in a good position to finish second and now we will go all out to beat Maybank to achieve the revised target,” said Tenaga Nasional coach Manjit Singh.
Manjit was being realistic, as even if they beat Maybank today, KLHC must fumble against Sapura to take the title to the wire.
“I don’t see KLHC losing points against Sapura tomorrow (today) but if they do, we will be playing them in a winner- takes-all match in Malacca next weekend,” said Manjit.
But if KLHC beat Sapura, they can claim the League title with one match in hand.
Yesterday, national goalkeeper S. Kumar played a big role in Tenaga’s win.
“Sapura has seven penalty corners and Kumar saved six of them, he played exceptionally well to hand us the win,” said Manjit.
The move to take the MHL to states has failed in its objective to attract fans, as the stadiums in Penang and Johor Baru saw only a smattering of supporters turning up.
RESULTS: Tenaga Nasional 2 Sapura 1, Maybank 2 Nur Insafi 0, KL Hockey Club 5 UniKL-Ibil 1.
TODAY: Nur Insafi v UniKL-Ibil (4.30pm), Sapura v KL Hockey Club (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v Maybank (8.30pm).
All matches at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 8 7 1 0 30 9 22
TENAGA 8 6 0 2 21 8 18
MAYBANK 8 4 3 1 16 9 15
SAPURA 8 3 2 3 16 12 11
UNIKL 8 0 1 7 3 24 1
NUR INSAFI 8 0 1 7 8 32 1