The underdogs will be out to throw everything in their disposal to redeem their pride in the Premier and Division One category in the IGP Cup Hockey Tournament that moves into its final lap of the preliminary round stage on Monday.
While Bukit Aman have a steady flow of former internationals in their stable, the Premier Division Group A matches between Perak-Johor and Bukit Aman-Briged Tengah are expected to draw interest.
At stake is pride and semi-finals berths which Perak and Briged Tengah may not want to miss out on an opportunity after underperforming in their opening matches.
Briged Tengah have three points to show and Perak two.. Both teams played to a 1-1 draw today but Perak won 1-0 on penalties.
The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Group B encounter is also expected to go to the wire. Both teams boast of experience and skillful players but the level of fitness will determine who wins the battle for a place in the semi-final.
As Kuala Lumpur team manager, DSP Jaswent Singh, observed: “There is virtually enough experience in both teams but we need to perform better to stay in the game. Fitness level is important.”
“The stakes are high and KL will need to get back on track. The 9-1 victory over Pahang was a good morale booster and we hope to play a much better game against Selangor,” he added.
Pulapol KL may not step on the accelerator against Pahang who suffered 7-2 and 9-1 defeats against Selangor and Kuala Lumpur respectively but it will be a big mistake should that happen as lurking closely behind are two teams in the form of Selangor and KL who aim to finish top of the group.
In Division One, the battle is still an open affair though Terengganu seems to have qualified much earlier from Group B with nine points from three consecutive wins. However, Briged Tenggara (6 points), Negeri Sembilan (6 points) and Melaka (3 points) are still in the running for semi-finals spot.
In Group A, Sabah are through to the last four while Kedah and Briged Utara will battle for the remaining berth.