A battling 1-1 draw between leaders Bukit Jalil Sports School (Under-16) and SMK Syed Hassan of Perlis on Saturday has spiced up the battle to be group winners of the Super League of the Ministry of Education League Cup (MELC) Under-17.
It was the visiting side from the north who went ahead first in the 18th minute through Mukhlis Ihsan Najmi Mohamad Nadzir before the home team replied with the equalizer through Mohamad Arrieffahmi Mohamad Azam six minutes to the end.
“In the first-half, we made several basic mistakes which allowed the opponents to control the game and then take the lead. But the boys showed plenty of fighting spirit after the break to push hard and score the equalizer,” said SSBJ coach Kok Keng Lin, who has been with the team for the last four years.
“I told the players at the break that we need to play our usual game, our normal game. And since our opponents compact the midfield, we had to play down the flanks with the crosses. And it worked.
“I supposed the boys were a little tired as we just got back from Thailand for a Sports Schools Tournament in Sisaket which we won. We had to play every day over 13 days and it took its toll. We only had a day’s rest before playing Perlis.”
With just a handful of matches left, four teams are realistically in the running to win the group although SSBJ are currently tops with 25 points from 12 matches played.
On second is SMK Za’ba of Negeri Sembilan with the same 23 points with third-placed SMK Tabuan Jaya of Sarawak although the former has played 11 matches as compared to the latter’s 13 games.
With the one point this week, SMK Syed Hassan are fourth with 20 points from 12 games although coach Azizul Abidin is looking beyond winning the group stage.
“SSBJ may be leading the table but we are looking at making the final this year instead. And I firmly believe that we can make it as we have the players to do it,” adde Azizul.
“The next several games will be crucial but we have drawn up a plan to make sure that we make the cut.”
In the meantime in the Premier League, the battle to win the group is not any easier when SMK Seberang Temerloh of Pahang drew up on the same 25 points with leaders SMK Putera of Kelantan following their 4-0 win over Melaka’s SMK Seri Kota on Saturday.
Zainal Abidin Hamzah was the toast of the side from the east coast when he nailed all four goals in the 21st, 41st, 47th and 56th minute for the full points.
In the only other Premier League match that was played this week, SMK Datuk Peter Monjuntin of Sabah beat SMK Tun Hussein Onn of Johor 2-0.
Only the top three teams from the Premier League and also the top five teams from the Super League will earn tickets to the quarter-finals this year.
Bukit Jalil Sports School (U16) 1
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) 1
SMK Bukit Nenas (TERENGGANU) 1
SMK Za’ba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) 0
SMK Tabuan Jaya (SARAWAK) 2
SMK Seksyen 11 (SELANGOR) 1
|SSM BUKIT JALIL (B16)||12||7||4||1||19||9||10||25|
|SMK ZA’BA (SSN N.SEMBILAN)||11||7||2||2||20||11||9||23|
|SMK TABUAN JAYA (SSN SARAWAK)||13||7||2||4||23||16||7||23|
|SMK SYED HASSAN (SSN PERLIS)||12||4||8||0||14||9||5||20|
|SMK SEKSYEN 11 (SSN SELANGOR)||13||4||5||4||12||9||3||17|
|SMK BUKIT NENAS (SSN TERENGGANU)||12||4||4||4||13||13||0||16|
|SSM PAHANG (B16)||12||3||2||7||17||30||-13||11|
|SMK MUTIARA IMPIAN (SSN P.PINANG)||12||2||3||7||17||28||-11||9|
|SMK TUNKU ANUM T.A.R (SSN KEDAH)||13||0||4||9||10||20||-10||4|
SMK Seberang Temerloh (PAHANG) 4
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA) 0
SMK Datuk Peter Monjuntin (SABAH) 2
SMK Tun Hussein Onn (JOHOR) 0
|SMK PUTERA (SSN KELANTAN)||11||8||1||2||20||7||13||25|
|SMK SEBERANG TEMERLOH (SSN PAHANG)||12||8||1||3||20||8||12||25|
|SSM PAHANG (B15)||11||6||3||2||17||6||11||21|
|SMK SERI KOTA (SSN MELAKA)||12||6||2||4||13||16||-3||20|
|SMK SERI TITIWANGSA (SSN WP K.LUMPUR)||12||5||3||4||14||11||3||18|
|SMK TUN HUSSEIN ONN (SSN JOHOR)||13||5||2||6||15||20||-5||17|
|SSM TUNKU MAHKOTA ISMAIL (B15)||11||4||3||4||14||11||3||15|
|SMK DATUK PETER MONJUNTIN (SSN SABAH)||13||2||1||10||7||30||-23||7|
|SMK GUNUNG RAPAT (SSN PERAK)||13||1||2||10||8||19||-11||5|
SSBJ (in dark blue / black) vs SMK Syed Hassan (in red / black)