Negri and Terengganu hold their nerve to complete trebles

BUKIT JALIL: Negri Sembilan practiced shoot-outs until 7.30pm yesterday and snatched the Vivian May Soars Cup from the jaws of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UniTen) Thunderbolts in the final at National Stadium, Bukit Jalil tonight.

Negri and UniTen ended regulation time deadlocked at 1-1 and the first women's Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) treble was won on a nerve racking shoot-out which ended 3-2.

In the men's TNB Cup final, Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) claimed a treble on Jang Jung Hyun's shoulders as he nailed a late penalty corner to deny Tenaga Nasional the chance to lift their Cup.

THT's Faizal Saari scored the opener in the 20th minute, but tournament top-scorer Azrai Aizad Kamal delivered his 40th goal of the tournament to bring Tenaga Nasional back into the picture in the 43rd minute.

South Korean import Jang delivered the winner eight minutes from time for his 29th goal of the season.

"THT was established 10 years ago and this is our first treble in the MHL. We dedicate this achievement to all our fans and team management for their solid backing," said former national player Fitri Saari, who was their backbone this season.

In the women's MHL Cup final, National player and tournament top-scorer Nuramirah Shakirah Zulkifli (Negri) delivered her 19th goal of the season in the 21st minute. Iren Hussin equalised off a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute and it was enough to take the match to a shoot-out.

For the record Negri also won the Charity Shield by beating UniTen 2-1 on shoot-out after being tied 1-1 in regulation time.

Negri's league title was won on goals difference after they ended tied on 23 points with UniTen.

"This entire season our matches against UniTen were close affairs and that is why I placed extra emphasis on shoot-out training.

"We trained until 7.30pm last night (Friday) and selected the best five (shoot out players). Our hard-work has paid off," said Negri coach K. Rajan.

Negri goalkeeper Mashitah Khalid was in her element to stop UniTen over 60 minutes and pulled off some good saves to hand them the treble.

UniTen coach Izzwan Salleh couldn't place his finger on why his charges came so close but didn't win a single title this season.

"It's heart-breaking to lose two titles on shoot-outs and all I can say is that we will come back stronger next season," said Izzwan.

RESULTS-- TNB Cup Final: Tenaga Nasional 1 Terengganu HT 2; Third-Fourth: Maybank 4 UiTM 1.

Vivian May Soars Cup Final: Negri Sembilan 1 UniTen 1 (Negri win 3-2 on shoot-out); Third-Fourth: Young Tigress 0 Terengganu Ladies HT 0 (Terengganu win 4-2 on shoot-out).

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