TENAGA Nasional upset the formbook when they edged double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 4-3 in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League yesterday.
The win saw Tenaga topping the table with 13 points going into the return-leg of the MHL.
The top-of-the-table clash proved to be a thriller, as Tenaga Nasional rattled defending double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) by playing attacking hockey in the first five minutes.
Tenaga, whose only blemish in the first round was a 2-2 draw against Maybank, were again powered by national player Faizal Saari who scored his tenth goal in five matches in the fifth minute.
Faizal made a darting run to the goal-line, and just as the crowd thought he was going to run out of playing turf, he unleashed a powerful reverse-stick drive which beat goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
But after scoring the early goal, Tenaga decided to sit back and soak in the pressure, and only attacked off rare counters.
They were punished by Syamim Yusof, whose penalty corner rebound in the 26th minute drew KLHC on level terms.
But Tenaga re-took the lead in the 32nd minute, when Amir Farid's reverse stick again beat Roslan for the half-time lead.
In the second half, Faizal again delivered for Tenaga when he scored his 11th goal off a penalty corner drive in the 42nd minute, and the utility giants were looking good for an upset.
However, KLHC skipper Azlan Misron narrowed the gap to 2-3 when he tapped in from close range off a penalty corner set-piece in the 54th minute.
But Faizal again came to Tenaga's rescue with another powerful penalty corner drive in the 65th minute for a comfortable 4-2 lead.
Ahmad Kazamirul scored a 70th minute penalty corner goal for KLHC, but the day belonged to Tenaga.
UniKL were denied their first point when Maybank came back from the dead to beat them 2-1.
The university side took the lead off a Noor Faez Ibrahim penalty corner attempt in the 19th minute, but became complacent and toyed around for the remainder of the half.
And they were duly punished with a comeback initiated by Amirullah Zainol in the 42nd minute.
Skipper Hairul Nizam gave Maybank full points, when he stole a weak clearance at the top of the semi-circle and put the ball between the pads of goalkeeper Shahrul Azaddin in the 64th minute.
Coach Wallace Tan was not happy with the performance, but the three points made his day.
"It was not how I would have liked them to play, as we failed to score any off the nine penalty corners that we won. But at the end of the day, the three points have placed us in a fighting position for a semi-finals slot," said Wallace.
Maybank hired Olympian Pakistanis Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas, but they were of little help yesterday.
Waqas, who took the penalty corners, could not find the mark, and injured his hand in the process which could see him sit out Maybank's first match of the return-leg.
P W D L F A Pts
Johor HA 3 2 0 1 10 9 6
Armed Forces 3 1 2 0 4 2 5
Uniten 3 1 1 1 5 4 4
Thunderbolts 3 1 1 1 3 4 4
BJSS 2 1 0 1 6 5 3
UiTM 2 1 0 1 1 2 3
Politeknik 2 0 0 2 2 5 0
P W D L F A Pts
TNB 5 4 1 0 15 9 13
KLHC 5 4 0 1 25 6 12
Sapura 5 3 0 2 12 10 9
Maybank 5 2 1 2 13 13 7
Nur Insafi-MBI 5 1 0 4 8 23 3
UniKL 5 0 0 5 7 19 0
RESULTS: Premier Division: Nur Insafi-MBI 1 Sapura 5; UniKL 1 Maybank 2; KL Hockey Club 3 Tenaga 4.
Division One: Uniten 2 Johor HA 3.
TODAY -- Premier Division: BJSS v Politeknik KPT (National Stadium, Pitch II, 4pm), UiTM v Thunderbolt (National Stadium, Pitch II, 6pm); Armed Forces v Johor HA (National Stadium, Pitch II, 8pm).