Defending champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UnIKL) manoeuvred brilliantly to pull the shutters down on Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) following the 4-2 win on Sunday in a pulsating match that saw the east coast side heavily dominating the last quarter.
The 2020 treble winners, for good reasons, have found their scoring act after a scoreless draw against Tenaga Nasional Berhad in regulation time of the Charity Shield last Friday.
UniKL went on to retain the Charity Shield in a dramatic 4-3 sudden-death penalty shootout victory. And debutants Sabah, who are entering the contest on the back of an 11-0 and 2-0 defeats against THT and TNB Thunderbolts respectively, are expected to ‘feel the heat’ against UniKL tomorrow.
“It wasn’t a good start for us against TNB as we lost vital points in the draw but clawed back strongly to stay ahead with four goals until THT made quick inroads to pull back two goals. The ‘sudden drop’ in our concentration was the reason behind it,” said coach Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi.
“It should never have happened. We cannot allow such moments to happen again. It was a lesson well learnt,” he said, adding that it was an exciting game against THT and the varsity side will focus on performing much better in the remaining matches.
“I am also upset at the players frequently challenging the umpires’ decisions and letting their own emotions get in the way. All this has to stop and not let anything outside the lines influence us. We need to have confidence in our game,” he said.
Maybank lead the table standings after two matches on six points followed by TNB (4) and UniKL (4) while THT (3), Universiti Teknologi MARA (3) and TNB Thunderbolts are placed fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively followed by Nurinsafi HT (0), and Sabah (0).
UniKL Hockey President and team manager Dato’ Amir Azhar Ibrahim said though he is happy with the win as this is the first competitive match UniKL is playing in the league he cautioned the players not to let their guard down in the remaining matches.
“We took a comfortable 4-0 lead due to the good work by the players and coach against a strong side. Nevertheless, the players should look back and rectify what went wrong in the last quarter that allowed the opponents to comeback strongly,” said Dato’ Amir.
“Throughout the match, both teams played brilliant hockey and I must credit UniKL for staying on top for three quarters. However, they need to look back and improve on their defensive errors that allowed THT to score two quick goals in the fourth quarter. I am confident they will do much better against Sabah in the next match,” he stressed.
He observed that the youngsters in the side such as Pavandeep Singh, who celebrated his first goal of the season against THT, and Nur Rahul Hrsikesa Muruthi have been playing well alongside the seniors and this augurs well in UniKL’s mission to win all three titles again.