Sunday February 24, 2013
No big hurdle for MBPJ
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) are unperturbed they have a one-goal deficit to overcome against SSTMI Juniors in today’s second leg quarter-finals of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League.
MBPJ surprisingly lost 4-3 at home in the first leg on Friday, but assistant team manager Zainal Abidin Ismail believes it is not an insurmountable task to reach the semi-finals.
“All we need is an early goal to rattle SSTMI. Luckily, it’s only a one-goal deficit. We’ll attack from the get-go. We believe we can win the match,” said Zainal.
MBPJ were the only big guns to suffer defeat on Friday. Champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and MBI-Anderson are all virtually assured of places in the last four.
Thunderbolt were 4-0 winners over Division Two champions Kuala Lumpur Sports School, but coach Wan Mohamed Roslan does not want his team to take the foot off the pedal for the return leg.
“We will not take things for granted. We will play to win. But we may give some of the fringe players a chance to play,” said Wan Mohamed.
UniKL were the biggest winners on Friday, thumping Malacca High School 7-0. They will play the return leg at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium.
Coach K. Embaraj, however, is not going to let his charges relax.
“We will field the best players as we want to try out a few strategies for the semi-finals. We also have the two suspended players (Mohamed Azrul Hasbullah and Meor Mohamed Azuan) back. We want them mentally and physically ready for the semis,” added the former international defender.
Like Thunderbolt, MBI-Anderson also have a four-goal cushion after beating MSS Kelantan 5-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh. It is highly unlikely they will fumble against the Division Two outfit despite the return leg being held at the Kuala Terengganu Hockey Stadium.