THT captain Fitri Saari (front) in action against Maybank during the TNB Cup Semi-Final first-leg match at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium. THT won 6-1.
ALL THE BEST -- FINAL DESTINATION
TERENGGANU Hockey Team (THT) have no plans to pull the brakes in the Second Leg Semi-finals of the TNB Cup today, even though they have a five-goal cushion over Maybank.
And Sapura coach Yahya Atan feels his players' desire to play in the final will be the key to beat Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) again in the return leg to solidify their two-goal cushion.
Both the return legs will be played at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, where THT hammered Maybank 6-1 and Sapura beat KLHC 3-1 on Wednesday.
"A five-goal cushion can be overcome in modern hockey, but we are not about to let it happen. Even though the final is just a day's break after the Second Leg, I will field my best players to stabilise the match before deciding on my reserves," said THT coach Sarjit Singh.
THT, double champions for the last two seasons, has won the League title and are looking good to defend their TNB Cup as well.
As for Sapura: "My players showed more desire than the opponents in the First Leg and even though we hold a slim lead, I believe it will be the same performance from them in the Second Leg to cement our spot.
"It has been too long since we last won the TNB Cup (2006 last Overall title) and are just two steps away. It will not be easy, but not an impossible dream either," said Yahya.
KLHC have been bogged down by injuries, and the fact that two of their top players could only play for 30 minutes this season, saw them struggle with a skeleton crew.
Razie Rahim, the nation's top penalty corner flicker, and national midfielder Nabil Fiqri joined inspector training and the team suffered badly.
When asked about his heavy-footed players in the First Leg, KLHC coach Harun Rashid said fatigue and injuries and work commitments left him with a thin squad on the bench.
"Fatigue is always an issue with a 'thin' squad and a packed schedule playing midweek as well (Alagendra Cup)..
"Umar Bhutta (Pakistan import) didn't play the first leg due to foot injury, Syamim Yusof and Kevin Lim carry hamstring injuries.
"Nam Hyun Woo carries a back injury, while Rashid Baharom's shoulder is injured.
"However, as long as we have the time and opportunity, a come-back is always possible in a two-leg race. It's not how one starts, the finishing is more important," reasoned Rashid.
TODAY: TNB Cup semi-finals Second Leg: Kuala Lumpur HC (1) v Saura HC (3) (KLHA, 6pm), Maybank (1) v Terengganu HT (6) (KLHA, 8pm).
President's Cup: Semi-finals Second Leg: SSTMI (3) v UiTM-KPT (4) (Tun Razak, 6pm), Politeknik (2) v TNB Thunderbolts (3) (Tun Razak, 8pm).
Vivian Soars Cup: Semi-finals Second Leg: ATM Pernama (0) v Blue Warriors (1) (Ministry of Education, 6pm), PKS-Uniten-KPT (0) v SSTMI (2) (Ministry of Education, 8pm).