Sapura fight back to grab a point


KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Maybank let slip a two-goal lead as Sapura fought back to share points with a 2-2 draw in a top-of-the-table Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) clash at the Tun Razak Stadium here yesterday. 

The Tigers took the lead through former international Suhaimi Ibrahim’s field goal in the 16th minute and extended it when K. Gobinathan scored from a penalty corner set-piece in the 33rd minute. 

However, Sapura forward Nishel Kumar starred with a two-goal effort – a field goal in the 43rd minute and a penalty corner rebound in the 58th minute – to keep his team’s unbeaten record intact. 

Maybank are still two points ahead of Sapura but their leadership will come under threat today as they face another top team Ernst and Young at the KL Hockey Stadium. 

The other unbeaten team in the 12-team league, Tenaga Nasional, moved into third position with a 6-1 thumping over Srii Aroma at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium. 

EASY WIN: Customs players (in yellow) celebrate after scoring a goal against Bank Simpanan Nasional during their Malaysia Hockey League match at the Tun Razak Stadium Friday. Customs won 4-1.--STARpic by KAMARUL ARIFFIN.

National forward Tajol Rosli and former national skipper Nor Saiful Zaini scored a brace each while M. Kalisweren and Mohamed Syayrim Uda Karim were the other scorers. L. Pragas scored for the Penang outfit. 

Debutants Royal Customs of Malaysia won themselves a prized scalp in Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) when they defeated the defending overall champions 4-1 at the Tun Razak Stadium here yesterday. 

The win took the Customs side to 12 points after six matches and a good position for the last eight. For BSN, it was their third defeat. 

Customs, who had come from a two-goal deficit to beat Pahang Sports Council 4-2 on Thursday, did it again yesterday. 

BSN took the lead in the 23rd minute through Pakistani import Syed Imran Ali Warsi’s direct flick from a penalty corner set-piece. 

But that only served to wake Customs up. They started to attack in numbers and, in the 32nd minute, Richard Adrian Doss pulled them level through a direct penalty corner attempt. 

A minute later, junior Ikmal Abdul Jabar gave them the lead when he collected a pass from St John Davies to slot past goalkeeper Firaus Razali. 

In the second half, Customs enjoyed their best showing. They chalked up at least six penalty corners while BSN had none and only two real attacks at goal. 

Richard then made sure of a win when he slammed home another penalty corner goal in the 45th minute.  

In the 52nd minute, K. Mano Raj put the match beyond doubt with a field goal. 

BSN coach C. Paramalingam was lost for words.  

“What can I say? We could not tackle, stop the ball or even string a pass properly. Everything they did turned out right and the chances that came their way also paid off.”  

Customs coach S. Sivabalan was elated. 

“This is a great win for us. Our objective today was to avoid a defeat. To beat BSN is a major boost to the players. 

“Now the quarter-finals is in sight and we will have to redouble our efforts,” said the former international.  

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