Saturday, March 21, 2009

KL defend National Under-16 crown

Kuala Lumpur players pose with the trophy after winning the National Under-16 title at the Seremban II Stadium in Negri Sembilan yesterday. — Pic: OWEE AH CHUN

KUALA Lumpur defended their National Under-16 title with a late surge when they beat Perak 3-1 at the Seremban II Stadium in Negri Sembilan yesterday.

Kuala Lumpur were made to sweat for 54 minutes, before they could score their first goal which came from Ahmad Iqwan.
Nor Aqmal Ghaffar then delivered a penalty corner goal in the 57th minute.
Perak made a concerted effort, and narrowed the margin off Saiful Manan in the 60th minute, but the fight-back was doused in the 66th minute when Nor Aqmal scored another penalty corner goal.
KL skipper Taufik Hamid was sent to the sin-bin after that goal, but the city boys held on for the remainder of the match.
Nor Aqmal scored a total 10 goals to become the tournament top-scorer.
In the third-fourth playoff, Penang beat Terengganu 4-1 with goals from Redhwan Jaafar (seventh), Ashraf Bahari (26th), Hafify Rodzi (28th) and Azwar Rahim (40th).
The Terengganu consolation was scored by Firdaus Shuib in the 60th minute.
"Perak made it very difficult for us for 50 minutes, before Iqwan gave us a break when he connected home a cross.
"That was the turning point, and my boys kept up the pressure and sound team-work won the day," said Kuala Lumpur coach I. Vickneswaran.
RESULTS -- Final: Kuala Lumpur 3 Perak 1; Third-Fourth: Penang 4 Terengganu 1.
ROLL-OF-HONOUR -- Top scorer: Nor Aqmal Ghaffar (KL, 10 goals); Best Goalkeeper: Hazrul Faiz (Terengganu); Best Player: Shazril Irwan Nazli (Perak); Best Player In Final: Nor Aqmal Ghaffar (KL).

Malaysia approached to host Asia Cup

DUBAI does not want it anymore, so the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) is involved in a ‘table talk’ with Malaysia to host the Asia Cup on May 8-15.
Hot at the centre of dispute is the US$20,000 hosting fee, which the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) wants waived, to seal the deal.
“The AHF wrote to us saying that Dubai does not want to be the Asia Cup host anymore, but did not specify what prompt ed them to reverse their decision.
“The issue was discussed at the last council meeting (in Johor) and it was agreed that MHC will host the tournament, provided the hosting fee is waived,” said an official who declined to be named as the matter is still under dis cussion.
Sultan Azlan Shah is the AHF president, while Tan Sri P. Alagendra the secretary general.
The MHC, still smarting from the million-ringgit loss suffered by hosting the Champions Trophy, have written to the AHF, but have yet receive a reply.
The Asia Cup also doubles up as a qualifier for the 2010 New Delhi World Cup, with only the champion advancing, while the rest will play in a qualifier.
“The council also agreed that if AFH waive the hosting fee, the tournament will be held at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
“We have debts to the tune of RM1 million, and it would be foolish to host another tournament, but being hosts will benefit our campaign, and also, we can save on travelling, accommodation, and food costs.” said the official.
The AHF had also looked at Pakistan as hosts, but their plans were derailed after terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team.
Ipoh will host the Azlan Shah Cup on April 5-12, and if all goes well, the Asia Cup a month later.

KL-Perak final showdown

KUALA Lumpur and Perak demolished their semi-final opponents with identical 3-1 scores and will play for the National Under-16 title at the Seremban II Stadium today.
Penang and Terengganu will meet for the bronze.
And the fact that both teams will be playing their seventh-straight match means fitness will be the key element to victory.
Both the teams are from Group A, and defending champions Kuala Lumpur won the pool match 3-1.
"The win in Group A will not matter when we play afresh in the final, the pressure and stakes will be differentI predict a close match till the final hooter," said Kuala Lumpur coach I. Vickneswaran.
Two years ago, Perak and Kuala Lumpur were in the Under-14 final, and Perak went on to claim the title. Both the states will be fielding almost the same set of players today.
"Kuala Lumpur players took their chances well in this tournament to reach the final. However, I still believe in my players, and hopefully they will deliver again in the final," said Perak coach M. Kulasingam.
In the semis yesterday, Perak took the lead off Firdaus Sidek in the 24th minute, but Penang equalised a minute later through Azrul Hasbullah.
Firdaus again gave Perak the lead in the 34th minute, and Shazril Irwan made sure with a penalty stroke conversion in the 45th minute.
Kuala Lumpur also took the lead in the third minute off Nor Aqmal Gahaffar only to see it cancelled by Shafiq Nordin in the 11th minute.
Kuala Lumpur took the lead again in the 62nd minute off Zizi Azwan, and Nor Aqmal made sure by scoring his second in the 66th minute.
RESULTS -- Semi-finals: Perak 3 Penang 1, Terengganu 1 Kuala Lumpur 3.
TODAY -- Final: Perak v Kuala Lumpur (5pm); Third-Fourth: Terengganu v Penang (3pm).