KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Kuala Lumpur stayed alive for a berth in the boys’ semi-finals of the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships despite a 2-2 draw with Penang.
Penang stunned the city side on Tuesday by taking a 15th minute lead through a field goal by Mohamed Amirul Hamizan. But five-time champions KL managed to draw level in the 24th minute with Wan Haziq Hisyamuddin on target.
Wan Haziq again put his name on the score sheet in the 41st minute from a penalty corner rebound. It was his sixth goal of the tournament.
Penang, however, fought back to snatch a valuable point through Tengku Alif Haikal in the 61st minute.
Both KL and Penang have seven points each after three matches, but KL lead Group B on a better goal difference.
Terengganu missed the chance to top the standings after suffering a shock 3-2 loss to Johor, who had earlier lost both their two matches. Terengganu are third with six points and still in the fight for a last-four spot.
KL coach K. Embaraj was upset his team conceded two soft goals.
“We had the lead and should have capitalised on it. A mistake in the later stages of the match cost us victory. Luckily, we are still in the running for a semi-final berth. It will depend on our remaining two matches,” said the former international.
KL have a rest day on Wednesday and will play Terengganu on Thursday in a match that will decide at least one of the two semi-finalists. Penang play Sabah on Wednesday and have a chance of leading the group if they win.
“We must win both our matches against Terengganu and Kelantan. It is a must-win situation now as Terengganu are also one of the main contenders for the semi-finals. I hope the players will keep their concentration and improve on their game,” said Embaraj.
Against Johor, Terengganu took a two-goal lead through Mohamed Akhi Mullah (second minute) and Ahmad Taufik Mohamed Jamil (10th). But Mohamed Ramadan Arifin grabbed all the points for Johor by scoring a brace in the 14th and 62nd minutes. Mohamed Taufik Kamjan netted the other goal in the 39th minute.