PETALING JAYA: Terengganu are one step away from reclaiming the TNB Cup after booking their place in Saturday’s final.
The five-time winners, as expected, proved too hot to handle for Maybank in the semi-final return-leg match as they walked away with a 2-1 victory at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Terengganu, who last lifted the TNB Cup in 2019, qualified for their seventh final in eight years on 4-1 aggregate.
Any hopes of seeing Maybank, three-time winners but not since 1994, overturning the 2-0 deficit from the first leg last Sunday quickly diminished when Terengganu midfielder Luqmannul Hakim Ahmad Shukran fired the first salvo from a penalty corner attempt after just three minutes into the opening quarter.
To Maybank’s credit, they did not give up and tried their best to get themselves back into the battle.
And their relentless attacks were eventually rewarded with a field goal from Alfarico Lance Liau Junior in the 24th minute.
But Terengganu did well to preserve a two-goal cushion before getting themselves back in the scoresheet through Sufi Ismat Rohulamin in the 39th minute.
Terengganu coach K. Rajan said the early goal made the difference for his side.
“We knew from the start that Maybank, being a side who had nothing to lose, were going to come hard at us, ” said Rajan.
“Their players really played their hearts out today as they aimed to overturn the deficit.
“We executed exactly what we had planned for – to get an important goal early in the game.
“Once we got that, we’re pretty settled and confident as this meant the opponents would have to scramble for four to five goals to beat us.
“So we waited for them to attack and responded with our counter-attack from the sidelines and it got us the field goal later on.
“Overall, we’re really pleased with the manner we have made it to the final.
“However, there are a few areas we need to get it right in the next few days before the final.”
Terengganu will be aiming to make amends after failing to defend their title last year, going down 2-1 to Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
They will meet the winners of the match between UniKL or Tenaga Nasional next.