Penang (17 February, 2017): Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) triumphed 6-1 over Nur Insafi in the second round of the Malaysian Hockey Premier Division match at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Hockey Stadium in Penang today.
The 2018 overall champions are now in a commanding position to win their first Premier League title since making their debut in 2011. In the first round of the league, UniKL defeated Nur Insafi 3-1 at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.
UniKL have now amassed 28 points with this win – one clear of Tenaga Nasional Berhad who defeated Maybank 7-2 at the home of UniKL – Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.
Drag-flick specialist Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim scored a brace (41st and 50th minutes) as did Faridzul Afiq Mohd (44th and 60th minutes), whilst Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (8th minute) and Martijn Havenga (28th minute) added to Nur Insafi’s misery in front of an estimated 200 fans.
“It was a calm approach to the game. Most important we started off well and disciplined. We did not give much space to Nur Insafi in the first two quarters. The midfielders and defenders picked up the loose balls very well,” said UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj.
“Another happy moment is Izwan, who scored the first goal, in front of Penang fans which is his home town. I am very happy for him as well as the team.”
Nur Insafi coach, S. Thaitchana , echoed: “UniKL played well. We gave away too many easy goals. Basically the boys played better today. Somehow, it is difficult to match UniKL.”
It was the Sungai Petani-based outfit that got off to a blistering pace in the first four minutes of the first quarter on the newly-laid out USM green turf by taking control of the ball but the story took a dramatic turn in the very next moment as UniKL came back to earn three consecutive penalty corners within a space of 2 minutes but could not find the space to score.
But it was only for brief moment as UniKL shot ahead in the 13th minute via Izwan’s field goal. It was the former international’s fourth goal in the league.
A penalty stroke by Havenga in the 23rd minute was UniKL’s best chance to extend the lead but the Dutchman’s low push to the right of goalkeeper Mohamed Ridzwan Azmi was stopped by his stick.
Havenga, however, made amends with his earlier failure by converting a penalty corner in the 28th minute as UniKL took a 2-0 lead going into the half-time break.
Nur Insafi, the underdogs in the league, rallied back at the start of the second quarter to reduce the deficit through Nur Rahul Hrikesa Thaichana with a field goal in the 31st minute.
UniKL continued the push in the third quarter and Muhammad Razie extended the lead in the 41st minute via a penalty corner and Faridzul it 4-1 in the 44th minute with a field goal.
UniKL went 5-1 ahead through another penalty corner conversion from Razie in the 50th minute and Faridzul returned to net his second goal in the match just before the final hooter, to put the result beyond doubt.
With two more matches on their fixtures remaining – against Maybank on Wednesday (Feb 20) and TNB Thunderbolt on Friday (Feb 22), UniKL are now headed for their first title win, barring no upsets.