PETALING JAYA: Perak stamped their class to retain the Razak Cup after defeating Pahang 2-1 in the final.
The goals were scored by 21-year-old Mohd Akram Hakkam Shamsuddin and Saiful Shahril Saiful Bahri, 26, in the fifth and 44th minutes respectively at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
Ismail Abu scored Pahang’s goal in the 37th minute.
All teams had to rely on their second liners following the Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC)’s decision to bar national players for this year’s edition but Perak did not disappoint.
They did not have the services of national players Mohd Haziq Syamsul, Meor Azuan Hassan and Mohd Azrai Aizad Kamal but banked on their 18-member team comprising seven players over 25 with goalkeeper Mohd Fitri Abd Aziz the oldest at 37.
Coach Abdul Sukur Adam was happy his players justified the faith he had in them although there were anxious moments.
He was even prepared for a penalty shootout as Pahang had earlier showed they were the comeback kings when they defeated Melaka 4-3 in a shootout during the semi-finals after holding them 2-2.
“We knew Pahang are fighters but my boys held on to their lead and never gave up.
“I admit, I did tell the boys to be prepared for a shootout but fortunately it ended in regulation time,” said Sukur.
“This win is memorable because we did it with our back-up and junior players.
“It shows that the depth of talent is really good. Target was to defend the title and we did it.”
Meanwhile, Pahang coach Mohd Suffian Mohamad said although the defeat was painful, the team exceeded their own expectations.
“We have gone beyond our semi-final target.
“Reaching the final will inspire our juniors to set high goals at next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma),” said Suffian.
In the women’s final, Kuala Lumpur beat Pahang 1-0, thanks to Nur Syaza Afiqah Safawi’s goal in the 53rd minute. MEN
Fair play: Melaka
Top scorer: Mohd Idris Samad (Pah) 10 goals
Most valuable player: Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin (Prk)
Champions: Kuala Lumpur
Fair play: Sabah
Top scorer: Nuramirah Shakirah Zulkifli (Ked) 7 goals
Most valuable player: Nur Zafirah Aziz (Kul)