Monday March 4, 2013
Shahrilís early strike seals Thunderboltís win over UniKL
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt clinched their third overall MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League title in a row after a 1-0 win over Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Mohamed Shahril Saabah was the hero, scoring the goal in the fifth minute to steer Thunderbolt to a double for the second year running. And rightfully, he was named man-of-the-match.
Thunderbolt were the double champions last year, also beating UniKL on both occasions. This year, they pipped Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for the league crown. Thunderbolt achieved their other league wins in 2010 and 2012.
It was the second consecutive year that UniKL failed to land any silverware. They were third in the league.
Thundebolt coach Wan Mohamed Roslan was full of praise for his players.
ďIt was a bruising final. We scored an early goal and it made all the difference. This is a special moment for us as we are now the dominant team at junior level,Ē said Wan Mohamed.
UniKL had nine penalty corners but failed to utilise them. In contrast, Thunderbolt had two and scored one.
UniKL coach K. Embaraj blamed the defeat on his teamís failure to convert their penalty corners.
ďIt is disappointing. We had control of the match. And we failed to get even a goal out of nine penalty corners. Itís just not our day and I canít fault my players for not trying,Ē said the former international defender.
Thunderbolt started off strongly and were rewarded after only five minutes when skipper Mohamed Shahril tucked away a penalty corner.
UniKLís top scorer Mohamed Shafiq Zulzairin was a marked man and they were further let down by an ineffective Mohamed Hafiz Elkan. They had four penalty corners and all came to naught.
In the second half, UniKL were in offensive mood and Thunderbolt were restricted to quick counter-attacks.
Despite their dominance, UniKL failed to translate their territorial advantage to goals.
The game then turned robust with UniKLís Meor Mohamed Azuan being yellow carded in the 58th minute. A minute later, Thunderboltís Amir Zulkarnian was sent to the sin bin.
Towards the tailend of the match, UniKL had two chances to draw level. But Thunderbolt defended well to walk away with the title.
In the third placing playoff, MBI-Anderson scored a golden goal in the 77th minute to beat SSTMI Juniors 3-2.
Abdul Rauf Nazri starred for MBI-Anderson, scoring off a penalty corner after both teams had finished 2-2 at regulation time.
Anderson scored their two goals in regulation time through Soffian Kamaruddin and M. Kartigan while Azhad Ahmad and Danial Asraf were on target for SSTMI Juniors.