SMK Tunku Anum of Kedah – the former champions of the Minister of Education League Cup (MELC) Under-14 – are all eager to take on Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in the semi-finals after their convincing win in the last eight on Saturday.
The northerners, who were winners in 2010 and 2012, easily disposed their quarter-finals opponent SMK Mutiara Impian of Penang 5-2 on aggregate.
They had thumped their close neighbor 4-1 away the previous week before being held to a 1-1 draw at home.
But as Kedah coach Mohd Faizal Rejarudin pointed out after the match, it was important that the team look to beyond just this one game but also for the semi-final matches.
“We have to make sure that there are no injuries for the semi-finals,” said Mohd Faizal.
“We were already leading 4-1, so it was important to balance between defending the lead and also to find the opportunity to score at the same time. The players played to tactics and were disciplined to the game plan.
“We will face a stronger team in the semi-finals so we have to be at our best.”
Brimming with confidence, SMK Tunku Anum were rarely troubled by the visitors as they then punched in the lead with a minute remaining of the first half through Muhammad Shazwan Salahuddin.
Penang came back stronger into the second half but the best that they could muster was the lone equalizer from Mohd Daniel Irfan Nadzri as the clock trickled down to the final 1-1 score line.
The draw was enough to guarantees SMK Tunku Anum’s passage into the semi-finals as they look to salvage their pride after an inconsistent start to the season.
Offered SMK Mutiara Impian coach Mohd Faqhri Sobri afterwards: “we played well but we could not convert the chances that we had. We should have done it in the first half. Our positioning were a bit off and there were several individual mistakes which cost us the game.”
“We have a new programme for the U13 this year which means that they will be promoted to the U14 team for 2016. We have a steady flow of talent now but we still need to prepare better for the new season.
“The competition is better this year and this is evident by the close margins in the score line. A lot of teams have improved tremendously.”
The win for SMK Tunku Anum will see them taking on Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in the first-leg, semi-finals at the SMK Tunku Anum Mini Stadium this Saturday.
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School edged Perlis’ SMK Syed Hassan 3-1 on aggregate.
In the meantime, Gambang Sports School established themselves as the firm favourites for the crown after strolling past a hapless SMK Seri Kota of Melaka on an 11-2 aggregate.
They had beaten the Melaka side 5-1 at home last week before further demoralising them with a 6-1 beating on the road.
With the win, Gambang Sports Schools have lined up SMK Zaba of Negeri Sembilan on their sight next for the semi-finals this Saturday.
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 – QUARTER-FINALS, Second leg
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA) 1 (2)
Gambang Sports School 6 (11)
SMK Tunku Anum (KEDAH) 1 (5)
SMK Mutiara Impian (PENANG) 1 (2)
SMK Zaba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) 0 (2)
SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR) 1 (1)
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School 2 (3)
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) 0 (1)
FIXTURES – SEMI-FINALS, First leg (17 Oct 2015)
KICK-OFF at 1600hrs
Gambang Sports School vs SMK Zaba (NEGERI SEMBILAN)
- STADIUM MINI SSM PAHANG, GAMBANG
SMK Tunku Anum (KEDAH) vs Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School
- STADIUM MINI SMK TUNKU ANUM