Thursday, March 10, 2016
SSTMI Thunderbolts Akhimullah Anuar Essok (centre) in action against SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts during the TNBMJHL Cup 2016 first-leg semi-final match which was played at the National Hockey Stadium, in Bukti Jalil on Wednesday. SSTMI won 2-0.
SSTMI Thunderbolts will take a step closer towards their fifth consecutive Junior Hockey League double when they play SSP-MSP Thunderbolts in the second leg semi-finals of the TNB Cup Friday.
SSTMI, who already have claimed their sixth League title this season, take a two-goal advantage after winning 2-0 in the first leg.
In the other semi-finals, BJSS Thunderbolts also hold a two-goal advantage over Anderson Thunderbolts whom they beat 5-3 in the first leg.
SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman said the focus will be on his own team, and not their opponent's flaws.
"I cannot say for sure what Pahang has planned, but they will definitely try to overturn the deficit with more aggressive play. All I can do is to make sure my team is well prepared.
"We must be more clinical in the second leg, and cannot waste any scoring chances like we did many times in the first leg," said Wan Roslan.
BJSS will be relying on their ace striker Hafiizhuddin Zaidi who is the tournament top-scorer with 17 field goals to his name.
Their nemesis in Anderson is Azrai Aizad, who has scored a total of 15 goals, 12 field and three off penalty corners.
BJSS coach Lokman Yahaya is not happy with his team's lack of focus in the early stages which saw them go 2-0 down in 11 minutes, and will likely be aiming to play a tighter defence when they meet Anderson again today.
"We now know what works and what does not against Anderson, and will be making adjustments for the second leg. After coming this far, we aim to reach the final," said Lokman. Meanwhile, the national seniors ended their four test series with New Zealand on a 0-0 draw in Tauranga Thursday. Malaysia lost two Tests (4-1 and 4-2), won one (3-2) and drew one.
The team will now move to Auckland to play two Test matches against South Korea.
FRIDAY -- Semi-finals, second leg: BJSS Thunderbolts (5) v Anderson Thunderbolts (3) (National Stadium Pitch II, 5pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts (2) v SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts (0) (National Stadium Pitch II, 7pm).
Note: First leg scores in parenthesis.
Photo: Planet Hockey
THE Black Sticks battled out a goalless draw with Malaysia in the fourth and final test at Blake Park in Tauranga.
Both sides played a strong defensive game which allowed very few opportunities in the attacking circle.
The result sees the Black Sticks take out the four Test series with two wins (4-1 and 4-2), one loss (2-3) and a draw (0-0).
Head coach Colin Batch said it was a frustrating game on attack but the way his side defended was pleasing.
“It was pretty tough to find a goal out there tonight, we only got one penalty corner all game so that was a bit disappointing,” Batch said.
“It was pleasing we created some chances towards the end and it would’ve been nice to get a late winner and finish with another win but it wasn’t to be.
“This was the type of game we need to get better at – when we’re defending well and not creating much we have to find ways to do more on attack and find space.”
The first half which was highlighted by several crucial saves from New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
Malaysia created the best chance of the half in the second quarter after earning a penalty corner, with Pontifex making a super save diving low to his right.
The Black Sticks earned a lone penalty corner in the third period thanks to some impressive lead up play from Simon Child, but Nic Woods’ drag flick was well defended.
The Black Sticks now head north to prepare for four Tests against South Korea from 16-20 March at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium.