Akhimullah nails winner for TNB in Alagendra Cup final

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Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) downed high-riding Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) 2-1 in the final of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

It was TNB’s first ever trophy since the knockout tournament was introduced in 2016. Tenaga received RM20,000 as champions while THT took home RM10,000.

Muhd Akhimullah Anuar Esook scored the winning goal from a reverse stick shot via close range with just a minute remaining into the final whistle. Powered by 10 national team players, TNB took the lead in the 46th minute off a penalty stroke converted by Syed Mohamad Syafiq Syed Cholan.

THT, who won the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup in 2017, equalised through Muhamad Rashid Baharom two minutes later

The Terengganu out, however, were on track to take the lead for the first time in the 58th minute when TNB goalkeeper S. Kumar brought down Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor in the semi-circle but South Korean Jang Jong-hyun’s high flick was saved by Kumar.

But there was no joy in victory for Akhimullah who arrived in Kuala Lumpur three hours before the start of the final after attending his grandmother’s funeral back home in Kuala Terengganu.

“I am happy to play a part in scoring the winning goal but deep inside I am very sad as my maternal grandmother passed away on Saturday. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 2pm – just in time for the final,” said Akhimullah who scored 22 goals to help Malaysia lift the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina last October.

TNB head coach Nor Saiful Zaini, however, had only words of praise for his players.

“khimullah did well to score in the last few seconds to help us win the cup. I have 10 national players who can beat any team in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL). It was a good start for us and we hope to play much better to win two more titles – League and Overall Cup,” said Nor Saiful.

THT coach I. Vickneswaran was clearly disappointed with his players for failing to convert 14 penalty corners they earned in the match.

“We had the chance to win the match after earning a penalty stroke but we muffed. TNB made a quick counterattack in the last few seconds and scored.We learned a harsh lesson that the match is not over until the final whistle is blown,” said Vickneswaran.

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