Perak secured a place in the semi-finals of the 59th Tun Abdul Razak Cup (Men) TNB Hockey Championship when they edged Kuala Lumpur 3-1 in the Group Y match at the National Hockey Stadium tonight.
With the victory, Perak completed the group stage with 4 points while Kuala Lumpur had no choice but to win when they face Melaka in their final match tomorrow to determine another slot to the semi -finals.
Melaka, who now have one point, only need a draw to escort Perak to the semi -finals for the team from Group Y.
Right from the start, Perak launched a flurry of attacks in the first two quarters but were stunned by Kuala Lumpur through their only penalty corner in the 23rd minute. Mohamad Sabri Mohamad did not waste the opportunity to put Kuala Lumpur first.
The second half saw Perak strategizing with more tidy attacks. As a result, Muhammad Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin equalized through a penalty corner kick in the 32nd minute to allow Perak to breathe again.
As a result of the equalizer, Perak increased the momentum to continue to press with a movement from the middle which finally paid off in the 40th minute through a field goal by Muhammad Akram Hakkam Jamaluddin.
As the match came to an end, Muhammad Nursyahmi Zulkifli in the 60th minute with a neat push bolted the Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper to ensure a comfortable victory for Perak and approached the goal to the final this Sunday.
Perak coach Abdul Sukur Adam was relieved with the result which allowed them to get closer to the final goal.
“Kuala Lumpur is a strong team and despite falling behind, the players bounced back in the third and fourth quarters. Our defense played brilliantly tonight and for the next game, we will see some aspects that need to be improved, ”he said.
Kuala Lumpur operator, James Murthi said his men will play hard to grab another slot to the semi-finals when they play against Melaka tomorrow.
In the Group X competition, PAHANG grabbed three full points after beating PDRM 3-1 to secure a place in the semi-finals despite having their last match against Terengganu tomorrow.
With PDRM already completing the competition without any points, Terengganu and Pahang each qualified for the semi-finals this Saturday.
Pahang took the lead at half time through goals from Tengku Nasrul Ikmal Tengku Abd Rahim (6th minute) and Muhammad Hafiz Zainol (11th minute).
PDRM returned the favor in the 41st minute through Muhammad Hafiizhuddin Zaidi but Muhammad Idris Samad gave Pahang a comfortable victory through a penalty corner in the 55th minute.
“We are looking for an initial network and succeed. Indeed we aimed to win and everything went smoothly, especially our goalkeeper playing well. We increased the tempo in the last quarter to ensure victory, ”said Pahang coach Sufian Mohamad.
Pahang will face Terengganu tomorrow to determine the Group champion.