UniKL kekal tenang bertemu THT

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Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) menutup kempen pusingan pertama Liga Perdana, TNB Liga Hoki Malaysia dengan bergaya apabila menduduki tangga teratas liga dan kini berdepan tugas sukar bertemu Pasukan Hoki Terengganu (THT) esok di Stadium Tengku Abdullah, Bangi.

UniKL menduduki tangga teratas dengan mengumpul 16 mata, lebih satu mata berbanding Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) dan tiga mata berbanding THT selepas melakar kemenangan 5-1 ke atas Maybank,  Jumaat lalu.

Pertemuan dengan anak buah I Vikneswaran esok cukup penting kerana ia bakal menentukan nasib mereka pada pusingan kedua.

Kedua-duanya seri 2-2 pada masa penuh ketika saingan Piala Sumbangsih di Stadium Hoki Batu Buruk di Kuala Terengganu. THT, bagaimanapun, menang menerusi penentuan penalti 3-1.

“THT mencicirkan mata ketika bertemu kami dan TNB tetapi saya lihat mereka sering bergantung kepada Jang (Jong-Hyun) untuk pukulan sudut penalti dan jika kami dapat mengelak daripada memberikan pukulan sudut penalti kepada pihak lawan saya fikir kami mempunyai peluang untuk meraih mata,” kata ketua jurulatih UniKL, Arul Selvaraj.

“Pendekatan kami ialah memberi tumpuan kepada persiapan sendiri berbanding berasa bimbang dengan lawan kami. Kami akan fokus kepada setiap perlawanan, raih keputusan paling baik dan mengekalkan kedudukan teratas liga. Kami perlu terus bekerjasama sebagai sebuah pasukan.

“Ketika bertemu Maybank saya lakukan dua perubahan drastik dan taktikal ini ternyata menjadi. Saya dapatkan pandangan pemain seperti kapten dan tonggak import untuk mendapatkan yang terbaik,” katanya.

Arul menambah, UniKL perlu bermula agresif apabila bertemu THT esok dan ia banyak bergantung kepada pakar pukulan sudut penalti mereka. 

‘Apabila kami tidak menjaringkan gol menerusi pukulan sudut penalti tekanan akan semakin tinggi,” katanya.

Pemain Korea Jang telah menjaringkankan 11 gol melalui pukulan sudut penalty berbanding dengan pemain UniKL Mohd Razie Rahim dan Martijn Havenga dari Belanda masing-masing telah menjaringkan empat dan tiga gol.

Havenga, ketika ditemu bual, berkata: “Saya amat gembira dapat menjaringkan dua gol dari sudut penalty menentang Maybank. Saya membuat beberapa pertukaran teknik dan ini telah membawa hasil.”

Arul: Stay calm against THT

It was a  great finish for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) after the conclusion of the first round in the 2019 TNB-MHL Premier Division  and now the 2018 overall champions brace for a stiff test against Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) tomorrow at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.

UniKL catapulted to the top of the table standings with 16 points – one clear of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and three ahead of THT on the back of a thumping 5-1 victory over Maybank on Friday.

The Netherland’s Martijn Havenga scored a brace while fellow countryman Robert Kemperman, UniKL captain Marhan Mohd Jalil and Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin added to Maybank’s misery with a goal each.

But the encounter against I. Vikneswaran’s THT tomorrow is crucial for Arul Selvaraj’s UniKL – one that will determine their final journey in the second round of the league with six more matches remaining. Both teams played to a 2-2 draw in regulation time of the Charity Shield at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu. THT, however, won 3-1 win in penalty shoot-out to share one-equal point.

With a full squad of foreign and local players at his disposal, Arul is looking at pulling off a greatest win on home turf.

“THT lost points against us and TNB but as I see they are relying solely on Jang (Jong-Hyun) who is a flicker and if we can avoid giving away easy penalty corners then definitely we have a good chance of getting some points here,” said Arul.

“The way we approach we will take the game as it is instead of thinking about our opponents, get a good result and maintain our top position. We need to continue playing together as a team, get the strength.”

“Against Maybank I did two drastic changes and this tactical move is working. Off course in terms of team tactical and structure I refer to two or three captains in the team and the international players to get the best,” he said.

South Korean Jang leads the scoring chart with 11 penalty corner goals whilst UniKL’s drag-flick specialists Razie Abdul Rahim and Havenga recorded four and three goals respectively.

Following UniKL’s failure to convert any of the 12 penalty corners that came their way in the 3-1 win against Nur Insafi last week, Havenga, however, was elated at ‘breaking the ice’.

“I am glad I have overcome that ‘bad moment’ and have got my technique working,” said Havenga. “I am getting used to the UniKL pitch and it was wonderful on Friday.”

Arul added that UniKL will need to start on a roaring fashion against THT and a lot will depend on their penalty corner specialists when matters most.

“When we don’t score from penalty corners the pressure is on the forwards.  They have done a good job in creating such opportunities and so far Razie and Havenga are coming along fine. We have other players too who we can count on,” he said.

But staying calm, added the former national junior coach, is a vital element for UniKL when they take on THT.

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