Thursday October 18, 2012
Minnows stun two-time champions Malacca as hosts Pahang make semis
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah created the biggest surprise of the 50th edition of the Razak Cup hockey tournament when they stunned two-time champions Malacca 2-1 in a Division Two match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Hosts Pahang, meanwhile, notched their second straight win – coming back from two goals down to beat Terengganu 5-3 in a Group B match – to seal their place in the Division One semi-finals.
The match, however, was marred by a near walkout, with Terengganu staging a protest when Pahang, who were leading 4-3, were awarded a penalty stroke in the 65th minute.
Play resumed five minutes later and Pahang duly scored from the penalty spot through Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin for his hat-trick.
Terengganu started off promisingly by taking a 2-0 lead through Faizal Saari in the 17th and 32nd minutes before Ahmad Kazamirul scored in the 34th minute to make it 2-1 in the first-half.
Ahmad Kazamirul equalised in the 38th minute off a penalty corner but Faizal completed his hat-trick to restore Terengganu’s lead 10 minutes later.
Down 3-2, Pahang came back strongly in the last 13 minutes to net three goals through Mohd Sallehin Ghani (57th), Hairul Nizam Rani (64th) and Ahmad Kazamirul (65th).
Despite the loss, Terengganu have three points from their 3-1 win over Johor and need to beat winless Penang tomorrow to seal a place in the last four.
But the day clearly belonged to Sabah for their rare win over Malacca.
Jubildowe Dalut gave the East Malaysians the lead in the 22nd minute before Dick Chewy Waili doubled the score in the 55th minute.
Malacca, who won the tournament in 2006 and 2010, managed to pull one back with a penalty corner goal by B. Namasivayam in the 69th minute but it was too little too late.
The victory keeps Sabah in contention for a place in the semi-finals. They have six points from four matches and have two more matches left – against Kelantan today and Police on Saturday.
Malacca too have six points and can still qualify for the last four if they win their three remaining matches – against Kedah, Selangor and Perlis in the next three days.
Sabah team manager Avtar Singh praised his players for the stunning win over Malacca.
“We are delighted with the win ... it’s our first over Malacca in the Razak Cup,” said Avtar.
S. Vellapan, who is coaching the Sabah team for the second consecutive year, said “we used to get hammered by Malacca”.
“Now, we have kept our hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive. We should have no problems beating winless Kelantan tomorrow but we can expect a tough task against Police,” said Vellapan, who guided Malacca to the two Razak Cup titles.