Sunday January 3, 2010
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club go three points clear after easy win
By LOGANATH VELLOO
GEORGE TOWN: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) pulled three points clear at the top of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division after a sensational 3-1 victory over closest challengers Maybank at the USM Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Both KLHC and Maybank had started the day with maximum nine points from their opening three matches, but it was the former who impressed in the match played in wet conditions.
The game was only 27 seconds old when Chua Boon Huat sounded the board in a lightning quick raid straight from the start.
Latching on to a fabulous pass from Nabil Fiqri, Boon Huat managed to get into space and placed a reverse stick hit past Maybank goalkeeper Abdul Hakim Adnan.
Boosted by the early strike, KLHC kept up the pressure and almost doubled their lead in the fourth minute when a Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin effort was blocked on the line.
Despite being totally outplayed in the opening 10 minutes, Maybank slowly got back into the game after settling down.
But it was KLHC who got on the score-sheet again through their second penalty corner of the game.
Azlan Misron’s push was met by a clean hit from Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim into the top corner of the net.
Just when it seemed KLHC would run away with the match, the bankers managed to reduce the deficit three minutes later. Suhaimi Ibrahim did well to hold off two defenders before pulling back for Hairul Nizam Rani to slot in from close range to make it 2-1.
But KLHC had the final say in the first half to score their third goal in the 33rd minute. Boon Huat turned provider to release Tengku Ahmad, who displayed good composure to lure out Abdul Hakim before slotting home.
Maybank tightened up their act after the breather and were unlucky not to narrow the deficit early in the second half when Hafifihafiz Hanafi blasted high despite having the KLHC goal at his mercy.
Play flowed from end to end but there were no further goals for the remainder of the match.
KLHC have a chance to make it five wins in as many matches when they tackle Nur Insafi at the same venue today.
“It was an important win today as we had lost to them in the league last year when we were playing as Ernst and Young. Our strategy to use attack as the best form of defence paid dividends as we managed to score the early goals.
”Despite leading the table, we cannot let our guards down, especially against Nur Insafi tomorrow. They will be hard to beat, especially with home ground advantage in Penang. It is still early stages and every team still have a chance of winning the league,” said KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan.
Third-placed Sapura warmed up for their clash against Maybank today by hammering Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 4-0 with all the goals coming in the first period.
Redzuan Ponirin, Azreen Rizal Nasir, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin and G. Sasitheran all got on the score-sheet for Sapura.
With an eye on today’s important game, Sapura eased up the pressure in the second period and were contented to sit back and protect their four-goal cushion to pick up just their second victory of the campaign.