Saturday January 12, 2013
Ahmad Alif saves Thunderbolt the blushes in win over BJSS
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt played more like chumps than champions as they huffed and puffed their way to a lucky 1-0 win over Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division One match at the Education Ministry Turf in Lembah Pantai.
With three Project 2013 squad players in their ranks – goalkeeper Mohd Ridzwan Azmi, midfielder Najmi Faizal Jazlan and forward Mohd Shahril Saabah – double champions Thunderbolt could only find the net once, through Ahmad Alif Nazaruddin Ahmad Nadhri’s 16th-minute field goal yesterday.
Thunderbolt showed no urgency in their game and earned only two penalty corners in the whole match. BJSS, parading a young team with an average of 16, were clearly the better team and were unlucky to lose the match.
Shahril, the top scorer in the league last year with 20 goals, was almost non-existent in the match. Even Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Wan Abdul Rahman was disappointed with his players’ performance.
“It was the worst game we’ve played in the league. My boys lost possession easily and made a series of blunders in defence,” he said.
“We can consider ourselves lucky to escape with a win as BJSS had some good chances to score as well.
“I’m also annoyed with my captain, Shahril. As an experienced forward, he had no attempts on goal. If we keep playing like this, we don’t stand a chance of retaining both our titles. I hope they’ll buck up for the next match against Malacca High School tomorrow (today).”
Thunderbolt, who hammered their juniors 6-0 on Thursday, now top the standings with two straight wins.
BJSS coach S. Prakash claimed that his players “have a mental block when it comes to playing against Thunderbolt”.
“My players have too much respect for them. We had our chances but didn’t make them count. Although ours is a young team, we should have done better against them,” said Prakash.
In another match, former champions Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) fought back from two goals down to edge SSTMI Juniors 3-2 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Mohd Haizzat Noor Azmi gave SSTMI Juniors the lead in the 10th minute before Raja Mohd Izzat Raja Hussin doubled the score 10 minutes later.
But MBPJ, who won the overall title in 2006, reduced the deficit in the 33rd minute through Mohd Shahiram Zali’s penalty corner attempt.
MBPJ stepped up a gear after the break and levelled the score through Mohd Farid Mohd Zuki in the 57th minute before Shahiram got the winner when he converted a penalty stroke in the dying minutes.