MALACCA: Goals galore, a large spectator turnout and an increased prize money payout has set the tone for an exciting finish of the 2010/2011 Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Premiere League at the Malacca City Council Hockey Stadium in Bukit Serendit.
Despite the pre-determined champions, second and third placed finishers in the earlier penultimate set of matches in Kuala Lumpur,
Local fans packing the stadium were treated with dazzling and end to end hockey stuff from all eight teams involved where a healthy 20 goals overall were netted.
With no less than thirty-eight current and former national players and a host of foreign imports on parade, top flight hockey was the order of the day.
The final set of matches at Bukit Serendit were Maybank vs Yayasan Negeri Sembilan (YNS), Sapura vs Armed Forces Airod,UniKL vs UiTM and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) vs Tenaga Nasional.
Of the teams in play, newly crowned and defending champions KLHC wore the biggest smiles as the slick city side wound up their 16-match fixture list with a superb 3-0 win over second placed Tenaga.
KLHC’s victory spelt sweet revenge as it compensated for the similar scoreline loss to Tenaga in the Charity Shield match in Kuala Lumpur on December 19. Furthermore, KLHC as the premier league table toppers pocketed RM60,000/=, up from the RM30,000/= picked up as 2009/2010 season league winners.
Bent to prove that their Charrity Shield capture was no fluke, Tenaga in their match against KLHC lionised the opening half exchanges drilled with an all out attacking tempo. However, KLHCfrequently caught on the backfoot managed to hold their ground with goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin looking steady.
Against the run of play, national defender Mohd Razie Rahim opend accounts for KLHC off a penalty corner just a minute before the break.
The expected fightback by Tenaga in the second half turned out insipid. Unlike their opening half display, attacks were not penetrating to trouble KLHC. Two further goals through Chua Boon Huat (41st) and Tengku Ahmed Tajuddin (58th) sealed the issue as KLHC trooped off comfortable 3-0 victors.
The Maybank versus YNS tussle raked in eight goals. Boosted by several import players from Pakistan and India, the Negeri outfit ran off with a handsome 5-3 win.
Scorers for YNS included Deepak Thakur Shonkla (16th and 53rd), Arul Aravind (26th), Mohd Redza Maadun (28th) and Muhammad Wagas Shariff (48th). Replying for Maybank were Suhairi Saidi (30th), Mohd Riduan Mohamad Nasir (55th) and Engku Abdul Malek Engku Mohamad (59th).
In another high scoring affair, Sapura blanked Airod 5-1. Toast for the victors was Korean Lim Woo Geun who fired a brace (34th and 67th)
with Izwan Ahmad Tajuddin (7th), Rehan Butt (44th) and Jiwa Mohan (60th) adding to the tallly. Airod’s consolation came though Zaini Sarip (39th).
In the final outing of the day, UniKL downed UiTM 3-0. Mohd Syamin Mohd Yusof struck a fine brace (20th and 31st) while Muhamad Ramadan Rosli (48th) completed the scoring.
For the record, KLHC in topping the final league standings impressed with 75 goals scored from 16 matches. National fullback Mohd Razie Rahim headed the scorers’ list with 21 goals, followed by Chua Boon Huat (14) Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (13) and Ismail Abu (10).