MALACCA: Unbeaten Sports School Juniors (SSJ) dropped further points, playing to an exciting 2-2 draw against Malacca Municipal Council (MMC) at the Bukit Serendit Stadium yesterday.
The result kept the race for the Division Two title of the MHF-Milo-NSC-Admiral Junior Hockey League honours still open.
In a fast-paced match yesterday, Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar scored in the sixth and 46th minutes for MMC while Mohd Hairul Ibrahim (second) and Mohd Jamil Saidin (56th) replied for the visitors.
SSJ began on a furious pace and drew first blood in the second minute. Goalkeeper Nazrul Azim Rahimi padded away a stiff penalty corner strike by Baljit Singh and an unmarked Mohd Hairul was quick to put the loose ball into goal.
Undaunted, MMC equalised four minutes later. The SSJ defence failed to check a counter attack on the flank initiated by Nazmi Kamaruddin and the cross fell for an unmarked Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar to slam past goalkeeper Mohd Khairil Azhar from an acute angle.
MMC were reduced to 10 men just before half time. Faizal Ani was sent to the sin bin by umpire Iskandar Rashdan of KL for bringing down a goal-bound Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim.
The second half was even more action-packed. Off a neat cross from Nazmi Kamaruddin, unchallenged Ahmed Anuar Sham Kamar coolly deflected the ball past helpless Khairil in the 46th minute to put MMC in front.
In the 56th minute, Mohd Jamil Saidin eluded two defenders before beating onrushing goalkeeper Nazrul with a deft push for the equaliser.
In a Division One match at the Kuala Terengganu Hockey Stadium, MSS Terengganu confirmed their berth in the quarter-finals with a narrow 3-2 win over MPK-Olak.
The Terengganu side have 13 points and two matches in hand. They join four other teams in the last eight from the higher division. They are table toppers Malaysia Sports School, Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Pahang and Anderson-XYBase.
The match was a crucial one for MPK-Olak, who needed victory to keep alive their hopes to qualify for the quarter-finals.