Friday October 5, 2012
KLHC star Ismail hits hat-trick despite hamstring injury
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Not even a slight hamstring injury could stop former international Ismail Abu from notching a hat-trick as he inspired double champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC) to a crushing 6-0 win over Maybank in the TNB Cup semi-finals, first-leg match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
With the return-leg scheduled for Sunday, KLHC can be forgiven for thinking about the final after further goals by Baljit Singh Sarjab (48th), skipper Azlan Misron (57th) and Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim (69th) sealed a comprehensive win.
Tenaga Nasional, meanwhile, came back from a goal down to hold Sapura to a 1-1 draw in the other semi-final.
Ironically it was Mahinder Singh, an employee of Tenaga, who put Sapura ahead in the 19th minute before Mohd Amin Rahim equalised off a penalty corner flick in the 52nd minute.
Tenaga’s strike force was clearly affected by the absence of leading scorer Faizal Saari, who had to serve out a one-match suspension after collecting eight demerit points.
But the day truly belonged to KLHC forward Ismail, whose goals came in the 17th, 42nd and 53rd minutes.
KLHC, who won the Premier Division title last week, however, failed to impress in the first-half despite Ismail giving them a lucky 17th minute goal when he deflected the ball into the net off a through pass by Mohd Fitri Saari that caught Maybank goalkeeper Mohd Hanafi Hasan off-guard.
The favourites came back after the break and stepped on the gas.
Ismail doubled the advantage for KLHC in the 42nd minute before Baljit’s penalty-corner goal in the 48th minute made it 3-0.
Ismail then got his hat-trick with a solo effort in the 53rd minute to put KLHC 4-0 up.
Azlan made it 5-0 four minutes later before Razie wrapped up the proceedings with a penalty-corner goal a minute from the end.
The 28-year-old Ismail said he never expected to score a hat-trick “as I suffered a slight hamstring injury during the match”.
“But I did not let it affect my game. I am glad I capitalised on the chances. I can’t remember when I last scored a hat-trick in the MHL,” said Ismail, who has scored eight goals so far.
“I am happy I did my part to help KLHC register a big win over Maybank and virtually seal our place in the final.”
KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj was delighted with the big win.
“It’s an early Christmas present for me as I never expected my team to score six goals. I am also happy with Ismail’s performance ... he scored brilliant goals,” said Dharmaraj.
In the President’s Cup semi-finals, Armed Forces edged Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 3-2 in Bukit Jalil while Johor HA beat Thunderbolt 2-1 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.