KUALA LUMPUR: League champions Tenaga Nasional went to the top of the standings in the Malaysia Hockey League in grand fashion, whipping Navy Dolphins 14-0 at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium here yesterday.
They now have 19 points, the same as Maybank but their massive goal difference puts them ahead just as the league takes a one-month break from today.
Tenaga were helped to the top spot by Ernst and Young, who defeated Maybank 2-1 in a closely fought match at the same venue. The win by Ernst and Young has also kept the title race a four-team affair. Besides these three teams, Sapura are also very much in the race.
For Maybank, it has not been a good few days and their defeat yesterday – their first this season – comes on the heels of a 2-2 draw with Sapura, who are in fourth place.
Tenaga also have a game in hand. But Ernst and Young or Sapura could be the new leaders today if they win their matches.
Ernst and Young go up against overall defending champions Bank Simpanan Nasional while Sapura will clash with Customs in Klang.
Yesterday, the experience of the Ernst and Young players made a great difference and they scored a goal in each half to carve out a narrow but crucial win.
Ernst and Young took the lead in the sixth minute when national forward Chua Boon Huat flicked home from a penalty corner set piece move, beating Maybank goalkeeper Paul Lopez.
But the Tigers equalised just five minutes later, also from a penalty corner attempt with K. Gobinathan sounding the board.
In the second half, there was no let up by either team but the more experienced Ernst and Young team had the edge.
In the 43rd minute they earned a penalty stroke and national defender Mohamed Amin Rahim duly converted.
In an earlier match at the same venue, Tenaga Nasional went on a rampage to sink the Dolphins 14-0.
National forward Tajol Rosli, M. Kalisweran, Fairuz Ramli, Nor Saiful Zaini and S. Saravanan all scored two goals each in the match. The other contributors were Azlan Misron, Mohamed Syayrim Uda Karim, S. Selvaraju and Nor Azlan Bakar.
It was a big change of form for Tenaga, who missed so many chances in their 6-1 win over little Srii Aroma a day earlier. Yesterday, though, they were right on target.
At the Tun Razak Stadium, the Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) let slip a two-goal advantage to share points with Pahang Sports Council in a 2-2 draw.
Both teams have four points from seven matches and have only a slim chance of making it into the last eight. The Pahang side are in eighth place while RMR are a rung below.
Once again, the main player for the soldiers proved to be their Hong Kong international Arif Ali who scored both the goals in the first half.
The first came in the second minute, off a penalty corner set piece and the second was a field attempt in the 17th minute.
Pahang, playing their home games at this stadium after the Kuantan Hockey Stadium had been declared unplayable, came alive in the second half to score two goals in a space of two minutes.
Mohamed Zulkifli Abdullah was the scorer of a field goal in the 57th minute. Two minutes later, Norsaiful Rizal Saaba found the net.