By RONNIE OH
GEORGE TOWN: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) took a giant step towards retaining their Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division crown with an effortless 7-1 win over bottom side Nur Insafi at the USM Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Before KLHC took to the field, there were already good news for them as second-placed Maybank suffered a major setback in their title chase after a 2-2 draw with Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). KLHC now have a six-point lead with three matches remaining.
KLHC then took to the field and were simply too hot for Nur Insafi to handle. Parading all their six imports - Pakistanis Mohamed Imran, Akhtar Ali, Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Waseem Ahmad and Fareed Ahmad and Australian ace Timorthy Deavin, KLHC took only three minutes to take the lead through skipper Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim.
Muhd Azwar Abdul Rahman (17th minute), Akhtar (24th), Chua Boon Huat (55th), Mohamed Imran (62nd), Muhammad Umar (63rd) and Waseem (66th) contributed the other goals.
Team manager George Koshy was pleased with the high-scoring win but warned his team against complacency.
“I believe Maybank will continue to push until the title is out of reach for them. That means we still have to work very hard to retain the title,” said Koshy.
For Maybank, they were well on the road to victory when striker Muhammad Waqas gave them the lead in the 31st minute. UniKL, however, fought back to equalise through a penalty corner conversion by Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim in the 49th minute.
Mohd Noor then surprisingly gave UniKL a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute through another well-taken penalty corner. Luckily, Muhammad Waqas managed to salvage a point for Maybank with the equaliser a minute later.
Although Maybank coach Wallace Tan was disappointed with the result, he was pleased to see his team fight back for a draw.
“As long as there is still a chance for us to prevent KLHC from ending the title race, we will give it our best shot,” said Wallace.