Saturday, March 20, 2010
TODAY: Final -- Perak v Kuala Lumpur (4.30pm); Third-Fourth: Negri Sembilan v Selangor (2.30pm).
KUALA Lumpur and Perak will square off in a repeat final of the National Under-16 hockey tournament in Sandakan today.
However, the telling sign favours defending champions Kuala Lumpur who beat Negri Sembiln 4-0, while Perak had to struggle into the extra-time before scoring the golden goal against Selangor in the other semi-finals.
The KL toast was hat-trick hero Shahril Saabah who scored off penalty corners in the eigtht, 25th and 39th minutes to douse the Negri fire early. The other scorer was Ahmed Iqwan in the 51st minute.
The Perak winner which took then into the final was scored by Haziq Samsul in the 71st minute.
Kuala Lumpur coach Lokman Yahaya said they have the upper edge, as penalty corner flicker Shahril's flick peaked at the right moment.
"I am confident my boys will not dissapoint in the final, as all they have to do is win penalty corners and our flicker will do the rest.
"Shahril has been steadily improving in the tournamnent, and I dare say that he is the best flicker in the country among his age-group players," said Lokman.
Perak team manager M. Kulaisingam, however, felt the trophy will travel to Perak this year.
"We did struggle in the semi-finals, but that is histroy. And now, my boys are looking foward to avenge their defeat at this same stage to KL last season," said Kulasingam.
For the record, Kuala Lumpur beat Perak 3-1 at the Seremban II Stadium in Negri Sembilan last season.
KUALA Lumpur fielded their reserves, but still beat Pahang 4-0 to top Group A in the National Under-16 tournament in Sandakan yesterday.
KL, who finished unbeaten after six matches, will square off against Negri Sembilan in the semi-finals today and coach Lokman Yahaya said he is confident the outcome will favour them.
And if KL keep their word, they are likely to square off against Perak in a repeat of last year's final. Perak demolished Penang 7-3 in their final group match and will meet Selangor in the other semi-final.
"Negri Sembilan seem to have overly relied on their skipper (Asraf Zulzali) to control the midfield and win matches in Group B.
"I have drawn up a plan to stop him (Asraf) from making those piercing passes, and I believe if my players follow instructions, half the battle against Negri would be won and we will get a chance to defend our title on Sunday," said Lokman.
Lokman said he fielded his reserves against Pahang to give them exposure: "We had already sealed top spot in Group A with the Pahang match in hand, so I decided to rest many regulars and field my reserves because we will be playing in the semis without a break," said Lokman.
Perak, who have not dropped a single point in five matches, have been the most impressive side in the tournament as they have scored a total of 38 goals and let in only six.
RESULTS: Group A: Kuala Lumpur 4 Pahang 0, Perlis 0 Singapore 2, Johor 1 Kelantan 1.
Group B: Penang 3 Perak 7, Sabah 0 Malacca 4.
TODAY -- Semi-finals: Kuala Lumpur v Negri Sembilan (2.30pm); Perak v Selangor (4.30pm).