Pahang pulled off a 1-0 win over Negeri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur threw everything they had to force a 4-4 draw against Johor in the TNB 53rdTun Abdul Razak Cup Division One tournament at the National Hockey Stadium today.
It was Johor who stunned Kuala Lumpur by taking a 3-1 first half lead before letting their guard down and allowed K. Dharmaraj’scity boys to claw back in the fourth quarter.
Mohd RamadhanRosli shot KL ahead with a fourth minute field goal but it was Johor who went on to take a 3-1 lead through Mohammad Nor Haziq (8th, PC) and Muhammad AzammiAdabi’sbrace (10th, 21st, FG).
KL, however, pulled back a goal in the 40th minute through Nor HizzatSumantrito close the gap at 3-2 but their best was not good enough as Mohammad Zulhamizanstruck for Johor with a 51st minute penalty corner to push the 19-time champions against the wall once again.
National junior forward ShahrilSaabah threw a lifeline for KL by scoring two field goals within a space of one minute (55th and 56th) which saved Dharmaraj’s side the blushes in this opening day act.
The opening day matches scheduled to start at 6pm were earlier delayed by close to two hours due to heavy downpour.
Pahang, who lost to Perak in the 2014 final, cleared their first hurdleagainst Negeri Sembilan,courtesy of an Ahmad KazamirulNasaruddin 29th minute penalty corner goal. It was Pahang’s only penalty corner earned throughout the match and they made good use of it.
“We only got together as a team hours before the match and I consider lucky to pull off this win,” said Pahang team captain, Muhammad Hafiz Zainul. “The juniors and senior players must get our act together against Johor on Wednesday.”
Negeri Sembilan coach, S. Chandran, was disillusioned at the many opportunities they had and credited Pahang and former national goalkeeper KhairulNizamIbrahim for keeping his forwards at bay despite Negeri, who last won the Razak Cup 37 years ago, were in control of the match in the third and fourth quarters.
“I told my players before the match if we ever lose to Pahang it is going to be from a penalty corner. They had one chance and scored. We need to start scoring and that is the only way to go forward,” added Chandran.
Negeri Sembilan play Kuala Lumpur next on Thursday and Johor meets Pahang.
Results –Division One Group B:Pahang 1 Negeri Sembilan 0; Johor 4 Kuala Lumpur 4.
Tomorrow – DivisionOne Group A:Terengganu v Penang (Pitch 1, 8.0pm); Malacca v Perak (Pitch 2, 8.0pm).
Division 2: Kelantan v Perlis (Pitch 1, 4.0pm); Selangor v Police (Pitch 1, 6.0pm); Sarawak v Armed Forces (Pitch 2, 8.0pm).