Terengganu passed the preliminary route to the semi-finals of the 59th Tun Razak Cup (Men) TNB Hockey Championship after beating PDRM 2-1 in the Group X match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
Terengganu, which has reached the final five times in 10 years including winning the championship in 2016, is now on track to improve on last year’s performance after emerging runners -up.
Descending as the team of choice with the most goals with 20 goals, Terengganu however received great opposition from PDRM led by Baljit Singh.
PDRM’s opponent’s strategy through a corner penalty shot finally paid off for Terengganu in the 9th minute. Team captain Mohd Fitri Saari , who is the top scorer of the tournament so far with 7 goals, scored a beautiful penalty corner with a neat push past the PDRM goalkeeper.
PDRM bounced back in the second quarter through a series of attacks and their efforts paid off when they were rewarded with a corner penalty by the referee in the 12th minute. PDRM flicker, Baljit Singh , made a beautiful push to the right of Terengganu’s goal to equalize.
With two minutes left before the end of the first half, Terengganu put pressure on PDRM again and managed to widen the gap when Muhammad Shafiq Imran Zaharuddin scored the winning goal for Terengganu.
The second half saw a balanced game with both teams pushing each other but Terengganu managed to curb PDRM’s pressure, especially goalkeeper Haizul Faiz who several times denied PDRM’s attempt.
PDRM, which last qualified for the final in 2016, needs to rise up and ensure victory over Pahang tomorrow if it intends to brighten the chances of advancing to the semi -finals.
“Of course we won the match, but I’m a little dissatisfied with it because we wasted too many opportunities. We were quite lucky because of the defensive performance especially goalkeeper Haizul Faiz who acted brilliantly as the last defender. So we need to fix all the mistakes, ”said Terengganu operator K. Rajan .
In another competition, the efforts of the defending champion and 10-time PERAK champion , to facilitate the passage to the semi-finals were hampered when they were tied by MELAKA 1-1 to share one point in Group Y.
Both teams now share the position with Perak need to ensure victory when they meet Kuala Lumpur in the second match tomorrow.
The strength of both teams seemed to be balanced and they played neatly and did good to each other. However, Melaka, which is a four-time champion and once defeated Perak in the final in 2015, exploded first through a field goal by Amirullah Zainol in the 19th minute.
Despite the pressure, Perak bounced back through Azril Misron who added his third personal goal collection when he scored the only goal for the Perak squad through a penalty corner kick in the 27th minute to equalize.
The last two quarters saw both teams fail to add goals and had to settle for one point.
Perak will meet Kuala Lumpur in the second match tomorrow while Melaka will face Kuala Lumpur this Friday.