A five-minute blitz gave Bukit Jalil Sports School a well-deserved 4-1 win over Kelantan’s SMK Putera in the final of the Minister of Education League Cup (MELC) Under-17 to at once lift the title for the second time in their history.
Bukit Jalil had won the U17 crown for the first time in 2009.
But this afternoon, SMK Putera certainly did not make things easy for Bukit Jalil as they matched the favourites ball for ball and was not allowing their opponents too much space.
SMK Putera’s midfielder Nik Akif Shahiran Nik Mat was the lynchpin for his side as he battled his opposite number Ammar Akhmall Alias for everything.
And following a first half deadlock in front of several hundred earnest supporters at the stand, it was Nik Akif who opened account in the 48th minute when he raced into the box to put the ball beyond the reach of Bukit Jalil goalkeeper Mohd Suhail Sofian.
“The boys never gave up even when we were down. I told the players that we had to watch out for the long balls, and to maintain discipline no matter what,” said Bukit Jalil head coach Kok Keng Lin.
“So credit to the players as they never gave up and continued to maintained their shape. We scored three quick goals in five minutes and that destroyed the opponents.”
As the game wore on, it was obvious that the synthetic turf was taking a toll on their players and as they struggled to kept up the pressure, an opportunistic strike from Muhammad Nazirul Hasif Mailang in the 69th minute gave Bukit Jalil the equalizer.
Four minutes later, Muhammad Nazirul then gave Bukit Jalil the lead for the first time in the game before Muhammad Zafuan Azeman then shot in from close range for them to lead 3-1.
By the time, winger Mohammad Arrieffahmi Mohamad Azam slotted the third goal in the 77thminute, the game was already over as SMK Putera was left to lament what could have been their grand evening.
“That five minutes cost us. We lost focus and allowed Bukit Jalil to score three goals on a trot,” added SMK Putera coach Rizalman Hassan.
“That destroyed us. We accept this defeat.
“I don’ think that playing on an artificial turf cost us. We knew that we needed to be more disciplined but at the end of the day, we just fell a little short.”
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.
RESULTS – FINAL
SMK Putera (KELANTAN) 1
Bukit Jalil Sports School 4