Friday February 1, 2013
Defending champions back on track after big win in Penang
By RONNIE OH
GEORGE TOWN: SSTMI-Thunderbolt showcased their credentials as strong contenders to retain the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One crown by whipping MSSP-USM 7-0 at the USM Stadium here yesterday.
Their fourth win in as many matches gave them the maximum 12 points and they are within striking distance of current leaders Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) who beat Malacca High School 4-1 at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium yesterday. UniKL and second placed MBPJ both have 15 points.
Another big win by Thunderbolt when they take on MBI-Anderson in Ipoh today could see them leapfrog over the UniKL and MBPJ to the top of the standings.
Yesterday’s big win brought back the smiles to Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohd Roslan as he had to make do without two regulars – forward Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and midfielder Mohd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad – who have been sidelined after a motorcylce accident.
“We may still be far from being at our best but I am happy with the result,” said Mohd Roslan.
“The seven goals we managed to score will not only serve as a good encouragement but will surely be useful in terms of a healthy goal difference.”
Yesterday, it was the Penang side who almost drew first blood in the 14th minute when MSSP-USM’s Mohammad Izzuan Halim failed to connect a Mohd Rahimi Iskandar cross into an empty goal.
The miss only served to wake up the slumbering Thunderbolt team as Muhamad Hafiz Seleman fired in two quick goals in the 16th and 23rd minutes.
The goals doused the early fire from MSSP-USM and the vistors took advantage to score another five goals in the second half, with an own goal in the 51st minute.
Their other goals came from Mohd Najmi Farizal (41st), Zizi Azwan Basri (45th), Mohd Sufi Rohulamin (56th) and Shahrusahadan Basri (61st).
Meanwhile, UniKL will have to keep up their winning ways if they harbour hopes of winning the league title. Yesterday’s match with Malacca High was UniKL’s penultimate tie in their league fixtures with their last game against Thunderbolt on Feb 7.
The Malacca side took the lead in the 30th minute when Mohamed Ashraf Zuhry scored from a penalty corner set piece move.
But a four-goal blitz in the second half ensure a convincing win for the KL team.
Mohamed Shafiq Zulzairin scored a brace in the 37th and 60th minutes while Norshafiq Sumantri and Mohamed Hafif Elkan added the other two goals in the 54th and 67th minutes respectively.
UniKl have 15 points from six matches while Malacca High School have five and still in a chance to make the cut for the knockout stage.
At the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Bukit Jalil Sports School finally secured a point after a 1-1 draw with MBI-Anderson.
MBI-Anderson took the lead in the 17th minute through Mohamed Norsyahmi Rasidi. But BJSS managed to secure the equaliser in the 28th minute through Mohamed Khairul Ikhwan.
With one more match to go against Malacca High on Sunday the BJSS team look set to miss the cut for the last eight for the first time. Their fate will depend very much on how SSTMI Juniors fare in their last two matches.