Sunday, June 19, 2011

Malacca beat KL for Under-21 title

MALACCA emerged champions of the National Under 21 Tournament when they defeated Kuala Lumpur 2-1 in the final played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.
Although six regulars in total missing from both teams from the final, as a result of playing in the AHF Under 18 Tournament in Singapore, the match lived up to the expectations of a final as both Kuala Lumpur and Malacca played fast attacking hockey.
A late goal by Kuala Lumpur ensured a grandstand finish after Malacca had taken a 2-0 lead but the city side have only themselves to blame as they created enough chances to win the match.
KL were without four regulars, in the likes of Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid and Mohd Aslam Mohammad. Only Mohd Amirul Aideed Arshad was released to play for KL in the final.
"We sorely missed the players as they were our midfielders. Still I am proud of the performance of the team who did give Malacca a fight right to the final whistle," said KL coach K. Embaraj.
"We need to finish chances in order to win matches and that was not there today. But we lost to a better side."
For Malacca they missed two players, Mohd Hazrul Faiz and penalty corner ace Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam.
"It is indeed a great honour for Malacca hockey as we have always done well in age group tournaments in the past. Winning this tourney shows that we have talented players in the state," said Malacca coach Chua Boon Huat who made his debut as a coach.
"Our game plan was simple, absorb the early pressure and get them on the break. And it paid dividends with the two goals."
Malacca were awarded a penalty corner in the eight minute but failed to get a shot on goal.
Kuala Lumpur were made to work hard by the Malacca and it took them 16 minutes before they had a first look at goal, that too through a penalty corner. But they could not get a decent attempt on goal.
Amirullah Zainol almost gave Malacca the lead in the next minute but muffed the chance with only the KL keeper Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie to beat.
But he was on target in the 19th minute as his shot beat Shahrul and on hand was Ahrujunan Panir Chelvam at the far post to guide the ball into goal and give Malacca a 1-0 lead.
With KL only having three reserves on the bench, coach K. Embaraj did not have much options left to him in making changes.
Malacca had a dream start in the second half as Amirullah burst in from the right to slip the ball past Shahrul in the 37th minute to put his team 2-0 up, and a firm grip on the final.
The goal boosted the confidence of the Malacca players as they kept harassing the KL players for every ball, not giving them room to display their abundance of skills.
Malacca keeper Mohd Ridzuan Azmi kept Malacca in the game pulling off a double save in the 58th minute to deny Mohd Zulhairi Hashim and Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof.
KL were on the top of things in the final ten minutes, but they sorely missed the presence of the key players and in the process were a beaten side.
Zulhairi finally scored from a penalty corner in the 65th minute to reduce the deficit to 2-1 but it was too late for KL.

Results: 3/4th Placing: Johor 2 Pahang 2 (Johor won 3-2 in penalty shootout)
Final: Malacca 2 Kuala Lumpur 1.

Roll of Honor:
Champion: Malacca
Runner-Up: Kuala Lumpur
Third: Johor
Fourth: Pahang
Fifth: Perak
Sixth: Selangor
Seventh: Negri Sembilan
Eight: Penang

Man of the Match (Final): Amirullah Zainol (Malacca)
Most Outstanding Player: Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof (Kuala Lumpur)
Top Scorer: Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghafar (Johor) – 6 goals
Best Goalkeeper: Mohd Hazrul Faiz (Malacca)
Fairplay: Malacca

Dutch refuse to go Dutch

THE national senior hockey team received back-to-back drubbing in the hands of Netherlands in their Tour of Europe training matches.
After losing 5-1, even though Malaysia leveled the score to 1-1 off an Amin Rahim penalty corner in the first match on Friday, the seniors were humiliated 9-1 yesterday.
The script was almost the same in the second match, as the Dutch took a first minute lead but Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin leveled the score with a third minute field goal, but Malaysia suffered a torrid second half where the hosts scored six goals with ease.
The team is in Europe to play friendlies in the run-up towards preparing for the Olympic Qualifier next year.