KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) look set to contest in Sunday’s final for the overall title in the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
Both teams have healthy leads after the first leg of the semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.
Thunderbolt carved out a comprehensive 6-1 win over Olak-PKT while UniKL had a tougher time before emerging 5-2 winners over Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
The return leg matches on Friday are likely to be just a formality for Thunderbolt and UniKL.
The UniKL-MBPJ tie was a close affair and the university team edged it with their clinical finishing.
UniKL took the lead in the ninth minute when Mohd Hafih Elkan converted from the spot, easily beating goalkeeper Mohd Shukor Safie.
MBPJ were back on level terms in the 16th minute through a Mohd Helmi Jaafar direct hit off their first penalty corner.
UniKL regained the lead in the 33rd minute, with Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman scoring a penalty corner goal.
Nor Azrul was green-carded two minutes later and will have to sit out the return leg match.
MBPJ’s Zul Pirdaus Mirzun will also miss the next two matches after earning two yellow cards.
Goals by Norshafiq Sumantri (40th), Mohd Haikal Zamri (58) and Mohd Shahfirul Aqmal (63rd) gave UniKL a healthy 5-1 lead before Helmi added a second for MBPJ off a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute.
UniKL manager Mohd Faiz Isa was happy with his team’s performance.
“I have said many times that they are capable of playing good hockey and today they did just that. It is a good win ... we have a three-goal advantage for the return leg. It is not over yet, but at least we’re in control,” he said.
In the other match, Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain bagged a hat-trick (3rd, 21st and 64th minutes) to help Thunderbolt to victory.
With 16 goals in the bag, Aminuddin is sure to bag the top scorer’s award this year.
Thunderbolt’s other goals came from Azril Misron (24th), Mohd Amirol Aideed (37th) and Lukman Nul Hakim (59th).
Marwadi Hamirin scored Olak’s consolation goal in the 47th minute.
Thunderbolt team manager Adam Izamry Idrus is glad to have such a big lead after the first leg.
“Yes, it is good ... we are happy. We need to keep the winning momentum going,” he said.