It took the decisive, final round of games on Saturday before the cast for the quarter-finals of the Minister of Education League Cup 2015 were decided, testifying to the fact that this year’s competition was a lot keener when compared to previous editions.
And for the first time too, the defending overall champions of the MELC – SMK Bukit Nenas of Terengganu – failed to make the cut for the quarter-finals of the championship when they fell to a 2-1 loss to SMK Mutiara Impian of Penang in their final game of the season.
Needing just a draw to make the cut into the next round, SMK Bukit Nenas just could not make it count under heavy weather when they fell to a 2-1 loss at home in Setiu.
SMK Mutiara Impian, who was also battling for a place in the quarter-finals, made sure of the win off a brace from Muhammad Khairul Iskandar Muhamad Zakri in the 30th and 53rd minute.
Ahmad Hambali Mohamad scored the only goal of the game for SMK Bukit Nenas two minutes to the end.
“We came here confident that we can win as it is harder to play at home when you are under pressure,” said Muhammad Faqhri Sobri, the head coach of SMK Mutiara Impian.
“But we stuck to the game plan and the boys delivered what was expected despite having to cope with the heavy weather and having the game interrupted because of the rain.
“Now we will have to better the squad for the quarter finals.”
The loss in the crucial final game in the group was heartbreaking for SMK Bukit Nenas as it broke their strong traditions to consistently compete for the top honours.
“Of course we are disappointed. Losing in front of the home fans is never good,” said Asmawi Sulong, the head coach of SMK Bukit Nenas.
“We were very confident that we could win this game but we made two bad mistakes and that cost us. Now we have little choice but to make our preparation early for next year.”
Joining SMK Mutiara Impian in the quarter-finals are the Under-14 team of the Gambang Sports School, who are already confirmed their place several weeks earlier.
The other three teams from the Super League to make the grade are former champions SMK Tunku Anum of Kedah, SMK Za’ba of Negeri Sembilan and also SMK Syed Hassan of Perlis.
The three teams from the lower Premier League making up the eight teams into the next round are the U14 team of the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports Schohol, SMK Seri Titiwangsa of Kuala Lumpur and SMK Seri Kota of Melaka.
The draw for the quarter-finals of the MELC 2015 will be made later this week with the first leg match to be held on 3 October 2015.
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.
MELC 2015 QUARTER-FINALISTS
Gambang Sports School (U14)
SMK Tunku Anum (KEDAH)
SMK Za’ba (NEGERI SEMBILAN)
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS)
SMK Mutiara Impian (PULAU PINANG)
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (U14)
SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR)
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA)
SMK Bukit Anum (KEDAH) 3
SMK Seksyen 11 (SELANGOR) 1
SMK Bukit Nenas (TERENGGANU) 1
SMK Mutiara Impian (PENANG) 2
Gambang Sports School (U14) 2
SMK Za’ba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) 2
SMK Tabuan Jaya (SARAWAK) 0
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) 1
|SSM PAHANG (B14)||14||12||2||0||41||4||37||38|
|SMK TUNKU ANUM T.A.R (SSN KEDAH)||14||5||7||2||18||18||0||22|
|SMK ZA’BA (SSN N.SEMBILAN)||14||5||5||4||16||12||4||20|
|SMK SYED HASSAN (SSN PERLIS)||14||5||3||6||10||17||-7||18|
|SMK MUTIARA IMPIAN (SSN P.PINANG)||14||4||5||5||16||17||-1||17|
|SMK BUKIT NENAS (SSN TERENGGANU)||14||4||4||6||13||21||-8||16|
|SMK TABUAN JAYA (SSN SARAWAK)||14||2||5||7||13||23||-10||11|
|SMK SEKSYEN 11 (SSN SELANGOR)||14||3||1||10||8||23||-15||10|
SMK Gunung Rapat (PERAK) 1
SMK Putera (KELANTAN) 1
SMK Seberang Temerloh (PAHANG) 0
SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR) 3
|SSM TUNKU MAHKOTA ISMAIL (B14)||14||11||2||1||48||9||39||35|
|SMK SERI TITIWANGSA (SSN WP KUALA LUMPUR)||14||8||1||5||19||11||8||25|
|SMK SERI KOTA (SSN MELAKA)||14||5||6||3||23||17||6||21|
|SMK PUTERA (SSN KELANTAN)||14||5||5||4||17||20||-3||20|
|SMK DATUK PETER MONJUNTIN (SSN SABAH)||14||5||3||6||16||22||-6||18|
|SMK SEBERANG TEMERLOH (SSN PAHANG)||14||4||3||7||14||27||-13||15|
|SMK TUN HUSSEIN ONN (SSN JOHOR)||14||3||4||7||12||18||-6||13|
|SMK GUNUNG RAPAT (SSN PERAK)||14||2||2||10||8||33||-25||8|
MB.1 – Heavy downpour affected play when game was stopped for close to an hour. SMK Bukit Nenas (in white / black) against SMK Mutiara Impian (in blue / black)
MB.2 – SMK Bukit Nenas scored their only goal in the game in the second half. SMK Bukit Nenas (in white / black) against Gambang Sports School (in white / black)