KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu Hockey Team dethroned Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 2-1 in a highly entertaining TNB Cup final at the Tun Razak yesterday.
UniKL, handicapped by the absence of their four foreign imports, fought gallantly and even had a penalty corner in the dying minutes to take the match into shoot-out, but Najmi Farizal Jazlan missed the post by inches.
Terengganu were powered to the title by their two South Korean imports, Jang Jong Hyun who scored his 22nd goal of the tournament in the 25th minute, while Jang Man Jae delivered in the 40th minute -- both off penalty corners.
National penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim gave UniKL hope with a 44th minute penalty corner, but they could not find the equalsier.
Terengganu received RM100,000 while UniKL RM60,000 and Tenaga Nasional RM40,000 for their efforts.
UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj saluted his charges who gave their all even though they were short of four of their best.
"My foreign imports were sorely missed in the final but the players who took over their positions fought gallantly and I am proud of their efforts," said Arul.
UniKL waited until the last minute for a release letter from the European Hockey Federation (EHF), to allow their players to ply their trade overseas until Feb 28, but it never came.
This ruling saw UniKL's best players Dutchmen Valentin Verga, Robert Kemperman and Martijn Havenga as well as Irish top goalkeeper David Harte who helped UniKL win their first League title in nine years, watch the final from the stands.
"I salute UniKL because even though they were short of players, they planned their game well and gave us a good fight. As for my players, they never gave up the fight and even though we finished third in the League, we clawed back and won the TNB Cup with pride intact," said Terengganu HT coach I. Vikneswaran.
In the bronze battle, Tenaga Nasional hammered Maybank 7-2 with goals from Firhan Ashaari (23rd, 45th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (34th), Amirul Hamizan Azahar (39th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (41st), Arif Syafie Ishak (46th) and Amirol Aideed Arshad (54th).
Maybank scored late off Hafiizhuddin Zaidi (57th) and Amirrullah Zainol (59th).
RESULTS: TNB Cup Final -- Terengganu Hockey Team 2 Universiti Kuala Lumpur 1.
Third-Fourth: Maybank 2 Tenaga Nasional 7.