TENAGA Nasional Berhad (TNB) maintained their fiery start to the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) with an assured 4-2 win over Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
It was TNB’s fifth straight win and they are level on points (15) with defending champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), who secured a 3-0 win over Kedah Nurinsafi in an away match.
TNB, who lead the table on goal difference, fell behind to an 18th-minute field goal from Faizal Saari.
Syed Syafiq Syed Cholan’s penalty corner conversion 10 minutes later brought TNB back into the game before field goals by Shahril Saabah (38th), Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal (49th) and Akhimullah Anuar Esook (52nd) ended the contest.
Faizal scored a late consolation (55th) for the shell-shocked THT.
TNB coach Nor Saiful Zaini, however, refused to accept that they are capable of ending UniKL’s reign.
“We played well and were aware of THT’s tactics. We must win all our first-round matches to keep the momentum going,” said Nor Saiful.
“Despite our strong start, there is no guarantee we will win the league title. Half of our team are Under-21 players. UniKL are the most balanced side and our match against them (on March 31) will be crucial.”
THT coach K. Dharmaraj, meanwhile, lamented his team’s weak bench, which led to their meltdown in the third and fourth quarters.
“THT’s first 11 and the players on the bench are like two different classes. The bench strength is very weak and that made it difficult for us to sustain the momentum against TNB in the second half,” said Dharmaraj.
“It was the opposite for TNB as they managed to rotate their players without trouble.”
RESULTS — Tenaga Nasional Berhad 4 Terengganu Hockey Team 2; Kedah Nurinsafi 0 UniKL 3 ; Maybank 3 TNB Thunderbolts 2; UITM 0 HockAdemy KL 1.