Friday March 1, 2013
Thunderbolt and UniKL players told to avoid picking up bookings
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League semi-final, second leg ties today are a foregone conclusion.
SSTMI-Thunderbolt and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) have such huge first-leg leads that they are already thinking about the final.
And who can blame them?
Thunderbolt hold an 8-0 lead over MBI-Anderson while UniKL have a 6-0 advantage over SSTMI Juniors.
If there’s one thing that the two finalists-elect have to worry about today is that their players do not get cautioned and miss the final.
UniKL are lucky that Mohd Azrul Hasbullah, who was yellow carded in the first-leg on Wednesday, will only miss the second leg and be free to play in the final.
But their other key player, Norshafiq Sumantri, is treading on thin ice. He has six demerit points and can ill-afford another yellow card in the return leg.
Thunderbolt have no such worries, although things could change in the return leg.
UniKL coach K. Embaraj pointed out that there’s no reason for his players to risk getting yellow-carded or even injured at this stage.
“Yes, both teams have good advantages and all we need to do is get through our matches. But we’re not going to be complacent ... we’ll play to win and try out some new moves which we can use for the final,” he said.
The battle for supremacy between Thunderbolt and UniKL is not all about the overall title. There’s also another fight going on for the top scorer’s award.
UniKL’s Mohd Shafiq Zulzairin leads the way with 12 goals but he’s being hotly pursued by two Thunderbolt players — Mohd Shahril Saabah and Mohd Hafiz Saleman, who have both scored eight goals.