Surprise, surprise!


Match winner: Pahang’s Muhd Hafiz Mohd Zauri (right) scored the winning goal against Melaka.

KUALA LUMPUR: Skipper Ismail Abu is on cloud nine after steering Pahang to a surprise upset win over defending champions Melaka in the quarter-finals of the Razak Cup hockey tournament.

The former international scored a field goal in the 18th minute to give his side the lead before Melaka equalised through a penalty corner in the 35th minute by Muhd Firdaus Omar.

But a minute later, Pahang’s Muhd Hafiz Mohd Zauri netted the winner at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Pahang will take on heavyweights Terengganu, who edged Sabah 2-1, in the semi-final tomorrow.

The 36-year-old Ismail, the oldest player in the team, hopes to see his young teammates continue their good run against the favourites.

“We had no pressure against Melaka as we were the underdogs. I just used my experience to guide the players on the pitch.

“We just kept our composure and controlled the tempo of the game, ” said Ismail.

“Reaching the semi-finals is a bonus, We hope to create history by continuing our run in the tournament.”

Ismail who is also an assistant coach with the Pahang Sukma team said they will work on rectifying their mistakes to be ready for the Terengganu game.

“Terengganu will be tougher opponents and we have to play possession-hockey as they have players who can punish our errors, ” said Ismail.

“Our run to the semis is good training for the team as some of the players are preparing for the Johor Sukma next year.”

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