Tigers plan to pounce on league champs UniKL

  • Hockey
  • Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) are not all-conquering. Tenaga Nasional showed that in their last league match when they forced the newly-crowned Malaysia Hockey League champions to come from behind for a 1-1 draw.

Now, underdogs Maybank are plotting to do one better than Tenaga by pulling off an upset against the varsity side in the TNB Cup semi-final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The Tigers finished fourth in the eight-team league with 20 points from 14 matches to advance to the semi-finals and had lost both their league matches against UniKL – 2-4 on Jan 29 and 0-4 on Feb 14.

But Maybank coach and former international Azrul Effendy Bistamam reckons the TNB Cup will be a different ball game.

Azrul’s men proved they are capable of upsets when they held defending TNB Cup winners Terengganu to a 2-2 draw in their last league game on Feb 16.

“We are the underdogs ... we have no pressure on us and this is a different competition compared to the league ... we will have our plans to stun UniKL,” said Azrul.

“We always play better when there’s no pressure on us. That’s why we managed to draw with Terengganu in our last game.”

“We have studied UniKL’s game and have identified their weak points ... I’m confident my players know what to do when they face the favourites. We just need to execute our game plan.”

The Tigers, who rested their key players in their last two league matches against Terengganu and UniKL last week, will be banking on internationals Mohd Haziq Samsul (pic), Meor Muhamad Azuan Hasan, Joel Samuel Van Huizen and Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris to get a positive result.

Azrul said that losing their ace striker Hafifihafiz Hanafi due to a hamstring injury was a blow but the team had coped well in his absence.

“Losing a player with Hafifihafiz’s calibre is tough but he has been guiding and motivating the other players from the sidelines ... he will be doing the same against UniKL too,” said Azrul.

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