IPOH: National forward Faizal Saari has single-handedly steered Terengganu into the final of the Razak Cup hockey tournament against hosts Perak today.
Faizal scored two quick goals in defending champions Terengganu’s 2-1 come-from behind win over Negri Sembilan at the Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday.
The Terengganu hitman was on target in the 42nd and 45th minutes after Negri had taken the lead through Dangerous Lee.
The other semi-final between Perak and Melaka went all the way to a 2-1 sudden-death penalty shootout after both teams failed to break the 0-0 deadlock in regulation time.
Both teams were atrocious in the shootout as each converted just once from the mandatory five attempts.
Perak managed to convert through Mohd Haziq Shamsul while Melaka scored through Mohd Ashraff Zuhry.
In the sudden-death shootout, Haziq converted his while Dedy Ariyadi missed for Melaka.
This will be Perak’s sixth final in 11 years. They were champions in 2013 and 2014 but los the 2015 final 1-0 to Melaka.
Perak coach Mohd Nizam Hashim said that they made heavy weather of the match because “our forwards just couldn’t score”.
“We had so many chances and we even controlled most of the match. It was one of those days when everything just didn’t work for us.
“Luckily we prevailed in the shootout,” said Nizam, who is handling the Razak Cup team for the first time.
Nizam expects the final to be a different game and said that he would make changes to his line-up.
“We have one injury. Midfielder Mohd Ashran Hamsani pulled a hamstring and will not play in the final,” he said.
Earlier, last year’s runners-up Police were demoted to Division Two for the 2018 edition.
Johor made sure they retained their Division One place when they won the penalty shootout against Police 3-1 to finish in seventh spot. The teams were tied 3-3 in regulation time.
Selangor and Perlis will meet in the Division Two final today and the winner will be promoted.