Defending champions SMK Bukit Nenas is still in confident mood despite having their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Minister of Education League Cup 2015 hanging by a thread following their loss at home on Saturday.
The overall champions in 2014 have had a topsy-turvy season this year where the loss of several players saw them struggling to put in any semblance of a unified squad.
And last Saturday, they again struggled against a much better composed Gambang Sports School (U14) side when they fell to a 3-1 loss at home in Setiu.
“We have improved against this Gambang side. In the first leg, we fell to a 4-0 loss while this time round; we only lost 3-1. So there is a definite improvement,” said SMK Bukit Nenas team manager Nordin Ahmad.
“We still have a chance for a place in the quarter-finals as we will be up against struggling SMK Mutiara Impian (from Penang) in the final game of the Super League. And even then, we will be at home, so that will be a big advantage.
“We lost 3-0 to SMK Mutiara Impian in the Charity Shield. But that does not mean that they can do it again here. We have been improving in the last few matches, so we are quite confident of winning the game and earn a ticket to the next round.”
Despite playing at home and having the lion’s share of the possession in the first half, SMK Bukit Nenas just could not break through the stubborn Gambang defence.
And just when they thought that the score would remain unchanged into the break, Ahmad Irfan Mohd Noor found the space and time to give Gambang the lead in the 34th minute.
Some tactical changes into the second half, allowed Gambang to double the advantage when Muhammad Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi fired in from close range in the 41st minute before Mohamad Khussaini Adli Mohd Yusof then nailed the third goal eight minutes later.
SMK Bukit Nenas’ only goal of the game came in the 65th minute through Ahmad Hambali Mohamad.
While the full points seem inconsequential for Gambang, who had already wrapped up the Super League crown and confirming one of five places into the quarter-finals, the loss for SMK Bukit Nenas meant that they will have an anxious week.
With just one match left to play, SMK Bukit Nenas is lying fourth with 15 points and where they will need to win the full points in their last game of the season to win one of four remaining places into the next round.
“In the first half we did not play well as Bukit Nenas were controlling the game but we improved after the break. We made some changes to the formation and we got the goals that we wanted,” said Asman Ismail, the head coach of the Gambang Sports School.
“But we boys were a little tired and it showed. We had to play back to back away matches and it is tough for them.
“Now that we have won the Super League title, the next target will be the overall MELC crown. So we still have a lot more work to be done.”
The MELC and 100PLUS Super Cup are among several youth programmes and competitions supported by 100PLUS, Malaysia’s leading isotonic beverage.
The others include the 100PLUS Malaysian Junior Golf Open and the 100PLUS National Junior Badminton Circuit. 100PLUS is recommended by the National Sports Council.
SMK Za’ba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) 3
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) 0
SMK Bukit Nenas (TERENGGANU) 1
Gambang Sports School (U14) 3
SMK Seksyen 11 (SELANGOR) 1
SMK Mutiara Impian (PENANG) 0
|SSM PAHANG (B14)||13||12||1||0||39||2||37||37|
|SMK ZA’BA (SSN N.SEMBILAN)||13||5||4||4||14||10||4||19|
|SMK TUNKU ANUM T.A.R (SSN KEDAH)||13||4||7||2||15||17||-2||19|
|SMK BUKIT NENAS (SSN TERENGGANU)||13||4||4||5||12||19||-7||16|
|SMK SYED HASSAN (SSN PERLIS)||13||4||3||6||9||17||-8||15|
|SMK MUTIARA IMPIAN (SSN P.PINANG)||13||3||5||5||14||16||-2||14|
|SMK TABUAN JAYA (SSN SARAWAK)||13||2||5||6||13||22||-9||11|
|SMK SEKSYEN 11 (SSN SELANGOR)||13||3||1||9||7||20||-13||10|
SMK Seberang Temerloh (PAHANG) 1
SMK Tun Hussein Onn (JOHOR) 1
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA) 0
SMK Gunung Rapat (PERAK) 0
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (U14) 1
SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR) 1
|SSM TUNKU MAHKOTA ISMAIL (B14)||14||11||2||1||48||9||39||35|
|SMK SERI TITIWANGSA (SSN WP KUALA LUMPUR)||13||7||1||5||16||11||5||22|
|SMK SERI KOTA (SSN MELAKA)||14||5||6||3||23||17||6||21|
|SMK PUTERA (SSN KELANTAN)||13||5||4||4||16||19||-3||19|
|SMK DATUK PETER MONJUNTIN (SSN SABAH)||14||5||3||6||16||22||-6||18|
|SMK SEBERANG TEMERLOH (SSN PAHANG)||13||4||3||6||14||24||-10||15|
|SMK TUN HUSSEIN ONN (SSN JOHOR)||14||3||4||7||12||18||-6||13|
|SMK GUNUNG RAPAT (SSN PERAK)||13||2||1||10||7||32||-25||7|
BN.1 – SMK Bukit Nenas’ Mohd Azam Mohd Razali (No. 25 in yellow / black) against Gambang Sports School’ Muhammad Al-Fidieq Fakhrullah Mohd Faisar (No. 10 in white / black)
BN.2 – SMK Bukit Nenas (in yellow / black) against Gambang Sports School (in white / black)