Tuesday October 2, 2012
Sapura hope Mohamed can provide the edge to beat Tenaga
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Sapura are still looking for that killer finish as they prepare for their Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division semi-final against Tenaga Nasional.
The lack of a deadly forward to put the finishing touch to the chances they create has been Sapura’s biggest drawback this season.
“That has been our biggest problem,” said Sapura coach K. Balakrishnan.
“I’m confident that we can upset Tenaga if we can find one such player.”
Balakrishnan is hoping Pakistani penalty corner flicker Mohamed Imran will provide that edge in the semi-final against Tenaga, who finished second to KLHC in the League.
“He scored three good penalty corner goals in our last match against Nur Insafi. I’m hoping he will be just as lethal in the semi-finals.”
Sapura, who finished third, had a mixed outing in the League.
“In the first round of matches we lost two and won three. In the second stage we didn’t lose any of the five matches. We drew four, including that against champions KLHC and Tenaga. Our last game was a 6-5 win over Nur Insafi-Perak,” said Balakrishnan.
“The important thing is we have been quite disciplined in defence and matched the best teams. And while we have trouble finding that winning goal we are still able to score.
“But that lethal final touch makes the difference between winning and drawing a match.”
Sapura go into the semi-finals with two injury concerns. Azreen Rizal is a doubtful starter for the first leg while S. Kuhan was injured in the match against Nur Insafi.
“I’m not overly concerned as we have replacements for these players,” Balakrishnan said.
“But we need to raise our game a notch if we are to make the final.
“Tenaga have the ever reliable Faisal Saari. But they also have other talented players in their ranks and we would be foolish to ignore them.”
In the League, Tenaga beat Sapura 1-0 in the first-leg and drew the second 2-2.