THREE Thunderbolts virtually booked their semi-final slots in the TNB Cup when they went on a scoring spree in the first leg quarter-finals Friday.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts hammered Perlis Young Lions Juniors 7-1, SSP-MSP Thunderbolts whitewashed Sabah Sports School 8-1; while Bukit Jalil Sports School Thunderbolts beat BJSS Juniors 6-3.
The only quarter-finals still alive in the return leg is between Anderson Thunderbolts and UniKL Young Guns -- which ended with the Ipoh school winning 3-2.
UniKL took a 2-0 lead but Anderson, who rose from Division Two, gave a super fight to level the score and nailed a final minute penalty corner goal to keep alive a dream of seeing four Thunderbolts in the semi-finals.
However, UniKL is singing the blues as they will not be able to train at the Azlan Shah Stadium blue tournament pitch today.
UniKL have contacted Ipoh City Council, Perak HA and Malaysian Hockey Confederation officials on the matter but have hit a brick wall.
Coach I. Vickneswaran was fuming mad at the disadvantage: "How can they do this to us? It's an important return leg which Anderson will host us but we are not allowed to train at the Azlan Shah Stadium main blue pitch tomorrow (today)."
Vickneswaran said they have contacted all the relevant authorities, and are even willing to pay to train at the main pitch -- but the answer was a big NO.
"On the other hand, Anderson have been training and playing at the main stadium this whole season under the banner of Perak Malaysia Games team.
"Winning and losing is a part of the game, but let there be fairplay," said Vickneswaran.
Anderson team manager said Saiyuti Samat: "We came here (Bukit Jalil) to clain a draw or a win, as we know that we have the advantage in the return leg on Sunday at our own back-yard in front of our school fans. I believe we will be able to qualify for the semi-finals."
UniKL took the lead off Nurasyraf Rosli (17th) and Wan Haziq Hisyamuddin (26th) but Anderson equalised off Nur Syahmi Zulkifli (49th) and Azrai Aizad (52nd) before winning a final minute penalty corner and Najme Ahmad tucked the ball in for a slim lead going into the second leg.
RESULTS: TNB Cup q-finals First Leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts 7 Perlis Young Lions Juniors 1, SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 8 Sabah Sports School 1, UniKL Young Guns 2 Anderson Thunderbolts 3, BJSS Thunderbolts 6 BJSS Juniors 3.
SUNDAY: TNB Cup q-finals Second Leg: Perlis Young Lions Juniors v SSTMI Thunderbolts (SSTMI, 5pm), Sabah Sports School v SSP-MSP Thunderbolts (Pitch II, 7pm), Anderson Thunderbolts v UniKL Young Guns (Azlan Shah, 5pm), BJSS Juniors v BJSS Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 7pm).
Note: Matches at National Stadium Bukit Jalil unless stated