Tigers are unbeaten but strikers lack sharpness


KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Maybank chalked up their third consecutive win in the Malaysia Hockey League with a 4-2 victory over the Royal Malay Regiment at the Tun Razak Stadium here yesterday to move into second place in the table standings. 

But the Tigers had little reason to celebrate as they really should have won by a bigger margin. 

They were already fours goal up before the soldiers scored their two goals. 

Maybank coach Wallace Tan admitted that they were having problems scoring goals but felt that, for the moment, the three points were more important. 

“Sure, it would have been good to get as many goals a possible. But we failed to keep up the momentum after getting the four goals.  

STALEMATE: Maybank striker Suhairi Saidi (foreground) and Royal Malay Regiment goalkeeper and defender Adrian Richard tussle for the ball during their MHL match at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur Saturday. Maybank won 4-2. - STARpic by Kamarul Ariffin

“Right now we are in no position to challenge for goals and that is why I want to make sure that we take full points in these games to stay up there with the leaders,” he said. 

Before yesterday, the Tigers had defeated Srii Aroma of Penang 2-0 and beat Pahang Sports Council 2-1.  

Yesterday, the bankers started off well as they pinned RMR deep in defence and were able to play at a relaxed pace. 

Skipper Suhairi Saidi opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he slotted home from close range after a poor defensive clearance. 

In the 27th minute, K. Gobinathan converted a penalty corner to give his team a two-goal lead. A minute before halftime Suhairi again found the target when he deflected home a penalty corner rebound. 

The bankers continued where they left off in the second half with Mohamed Riduan Nasir slotting home the fourth in the 46th minute. 

But if the Maybanks were expecting an avalanche of goals, they were disappointed. Instead, it was the soldiers who went on the offensive after that. 

RMR's Hong Kong international Arif Ali was a constant torn in the Tigers side with his speedy runs into the D. 

But Arif lacked support and often, his teammates were a shade too slow to react to his passes. 

In the 53rd minute, Supri Mat Junoh managed to reduce the deficit with a field goal and in the 60th minute Arif got his name on the score sheet when he deflected home a direct penalty corner hit taken by skipper Zulmadi Ariffin. 

RMR coach Hashim Yusof said his players were slow starters and by the time they had warmed up, the game was almost over. 

“They played well in patches but we need to get going from the start. In all our matches we only played well late in the second half. This is something we need to work on,” he added. 

Up north, Srii Aroma of Penang won their first game in three matches when they defeated the Dolphins 2-1 at the Bertam Hockey Complex to move into seventh place in the table standings. 

Forward A. Aravind scored the fist goal in the 13th minute off a field attempt and, in the 38th minute, S. Vengedes scored from a penalty corner set piece move. 

The Dolphins managed to reduced the deficit in the 56th minute through Mohamed Hazanizam. 

Srii Aroma stand-in manager S. Sathis Kumar said they are happy to have won the first game after two earlier defeats at the hands of Maybank and Customs. 

“Now we need to build on this win,” he said.  

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