Thursday, January 19, 2012

UniKL start on a stutter

LEAGUE champions UniKL Young Guns had a shaky start when they could only edge Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) 2-1 in the curtain raiser of the Milo-Junior Hockey League yesterday.
Playing at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium, the UniKL goals were delivered by Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman in the sixth minute off their first penalty corner, and by Haziq Shamsul in the 53rd minute off a field attempt.
MBPJ got their act together late in the match, and scored their moral booster off their only penalty corner of the match in the 64th minute courtesy of Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam.
But UniKL's challengers Thunderbolt, the defending Overall champions, had a field day when they hammered Tengku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) 7-1 at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
The Thunderbolt goals were scored by Afzanizam Zakaria (12th), Aminudin Zain (30th, 60th), Sufi Ismat (55th), Khairul Shafik (56th), Shafiq Nordin (62nd) and Shahril Saabah (69th).
The SSTMI consolation was scored by Daniel Asyraf in the 39th minute.
UniKL team manager Amir Azhar was surprised on how his team muffed eight penalty corners and at least 10 field attempts after training for the last three months.
"Our penalty corners were a big letdown as we could only score one off the eight we won. And the field attempts were also not up to the mark, as we could have easily won by six goals if we had taken our chances," said Amir.
And today, the League champions meet last season's Division Two champions Tengku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) of Tampin.
"We have to wake up, overnight, as TBSS have shown that they have strikers when they beat Bukit Jalil (Sports School) JUniors 6-0 in a friendly recently," said Amir.
TBSS had a rest day yesterday, and the match could turn into an explosive encounter at the Seremban II pitch today.
RESULTS : Division One -- Thunderbolt 7 SSTMI 1, SSBJ 6 SSBJ Juniors 0, UniKL 2 MBPJ 1.
Division Two (A): Kedah HA Jr 1 Kedah HA-MSNK 1, Politeknik KPT 2 Nur Insafi 1, Anderson Jr 2 PHK-MSSK 3, MSSPP-USM Jr 0 Sapura 5.
Division Two (B): Tunas Pahang 2 MSP/Yayasan Pahang 3, Malacca HS 1 MPBP 0.

TODAY (FRIDAY): Division One -- TBSS v UniKL (Seremban II, 5pm), MBI Anderson vs USM-MSSPP (Azlan Shah, 5pm).
Division Two (A): Politeknik KPT vs Kedah HA Jr (Alor Star, 5pm), Nur Insafi vs KHA-MSNK (Sg Petani, 5pm), Anderson Jr vs Sapura (Azlan Shah, 5pm), MSSPP-USM Jr vs PHNS (USM, 5pm).
Division Two (B): Yayasan Pahang vs Datuk Taha (Kuantan, 4.30pm), KLSS vs Olak-PKT (KLHA, 5pm).
TOMORROW (SATURDAY): Division One -- Thunderbolt vs SSBJ (Taman Daya I, 5pm), SSTMI vs SSBJ Jr (Taman Daya II, 5pm), TBSS vs MBPJ (Seremban II, 5pm).
Division Two (A): PHK-MSSK vs PHNS (Azaln Shah, 5pm).
Division Two (B): KLSS vs MPBP (KLHA, 5pm), Padang Midin vs Datuk Taha (Terengganu, 5pm), Olak-PKT vs Malacca HS (Bukit Jalil, 5pm).

China skipper tips South Korea

Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (left) vies with China’s Song Yi in their friendly on Tuesday.

By Ajitpal Singh

THE national hockey team are confident of qualifying for the London Olympics but China captain Song Yi brushed it off stating that South Korea will win the qualifiers in Dublin.
China’s Song Yi.
“South Korea are better and besides, they have the experience playing in priority tournaments. They may have a new coach but I think they will be a well-oiled side in Dublin,” said Song Yi after his team were beaten 3-1 by Malaysia in the fifth and final friendly at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Malaysia, who won the series 3-2, yesterday scored through Amin Rahim (eight minute), Razie Rahim (24th) and Fitri Saari (51th), all from penalty corner set-pieces, while China replied through Sun Luo (11th).
Others teams competing in Dublin in March for the one qualifying spot are Ireland, Russia, Ukraine and Chile.
Midfielder Shukri Mutalib disagreed with Song Yi and said that Malaysia had an even chance of making it to London.
“I’ve played in two previous Olympic qualifiers and I believe this team have a better chance as we are technically better, more skilful and are fit. “We are training hard and of course, if we don’t make it, we would be disappointed. We need to improve our penetration rate in the semi-circle and understanding in defence,” said Shukri, who has earned 145 caps.
National coach Tai Beng Hai said the team were on the right path but needed to tighten up in a few areas. “My players did better after the opening two matches. I have identified areas where we need tightening up,” said Beng Hai, who added that the players’ fitness has improved.
The team travel to Perth on Jan 28 where they will play Australia (four matches) and the Netherlands (two matches).