Saturday, May 11, 2013
KLHC's Kelvinder Singh in the centre of a high-ball tussle against Sapura players.
KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) have a two-goal cushion over Sapura in the TNB Cup semi-finals, but are wary of a Pakistan overturn in the return leg today.
TNB Cup holders KHLC, even though a jaded side on Friday, still managed to beat Sapura 3-1.
However, the second leg semis will be purely academic for Tenaga Nasinal, who have virtually qualified for the final after they hammered Maybank 6-3 in the first leg.
“Although I am glad with the win and two-goal cushion, I am not happy with the way my team played overall as they are capable of much better hockey.
“And with Pakistan penalty corner flicker Kashif Ali on Sapura’s side, it would be foolish to celebrate before the second 70 minutes are over,” warned KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
For the record, Kashif never got a chance to show his prowess in the semis, as Sapura were unlucky not to have won even a single penalty corner.
The coach also tagged the lame show by his players to the two-week break: “The players rested more than 10 days after the League ended to play in the semi-finals, and this, to a certain degree, cooled down some of them and it showed in their slow approach.
“Now, we need to play at a higher level and also not give away too many penalty corners, to have a chance of defending out title -- possibly against Tenaga,” said Dharmaraj.
It would be hard to deny Tenaga a charge into the final, as they have a four-goal cushion against Maybank.
As for Sapura, their manager S. Kuhan, a former national skipper, lamented on the fact that they did not win a single penalty corner: “It was really disappointing that we were not awarded a single penalty corner in the first leg. The two goal-cushion is not really big, and we have nothing to lose but to go on the offensive from the start to erase it.”
TODAY: Semi-finals Second Leg: TNB Cup -- Tenaga (6) v Maybank (2) v (6pm), KLHC (3) v Sapura (1) (8pm).
President's Cup: Ipoh CC (3) v TNB Thunderbolts (6) (6pm), UiTM (2) v Sunday 2030 (1) (8pm).
Note: First leg scores in parenthesis. All matches at Pitch I and II of National Stadium Bukit Jalil.