Though the scoreline shows that KL Hockey Club holding a 3-1 lead at the end of the TNB Cup, in reality the place in the final is still up for grabs. And in the President's Cup, Uitm held off Sunday 2030 for a slim 2-1 advantage.The KLHC v Sapura match lacked the excitement that was expected from a match between the two teams and in the end KLHC will probably be regretting not taking advantage of the chances they created.
"Though we dominated proceedings, we failed to convert the chances that came our way. A two goal lead in modern hockey is nothing as the whole momentum can change in the second leg," said KLHC manager George Koshy.
"Having the lion share of possession means nothing as we really should have added a few more goals as we had seven penalty corners and converted only two.
"It is still an open match in the second leg and for us its back to the drawing board as we need to ensure that we do not blow this two goal lead. Conceding the first goal was a sin and we were fortunate to have drawn level before halftime."
KLHC suffered an early setback, but bounced back just before the half-time to tie Sapura at 1-1. In a drab first half of the first leg semi-finals, Sapura took the lead in the 24th minute when Joel Samuel van Huizen dribbled past three players and sent a shot into the top of the roof.
However, KLHC came back into the picture seven minutes later when Mohd Razie Rahim scored from a penalty corner attempt. KLHC had two earlier penalty corners in the 15th and 31st minutes, while Sapura did not have any for the first 35 minutes.
Just two minutes after the breather, KLHC took the lead as Akhtar Ali scored. And Chua Boon Huat made sure of the win deflecting in a penalty corner set piece in the 55th minute.
"We made several errors in defence and they capitalised on it. It all boils down to composure and hitting them on the counter yielded result as we scored the opening goal but then opted to defend too deep," said Sapura manager S. Kuhan.
"But the tie is still alive and we need to believe in our ability in order to get a positive result on Sunday. We should really have created some penalty corners as that could have helped our cause."
In the Division One semi-finals, UiTM edged Sunday 2030 2-1.
Sunday opened scoring through by Adrian Richard (ninth), while hile the UiTM goals were scored by Muhsin Hamsani (12th, 35th)..
RESULTS -- Semi-finals First Leg: Premier Division
Sapura 1 KLHC 3
Maybank x Tenaga x.
TNB Thunderbolts x Ipoh CC x,
Sunday 2030 1 UiTM 2
Semi-finals Second Leg:
Tenaga v Maybank v (6pm)
KLHC v Sapura (8pm).
Ipoh CC v TNB Thunderbolts (6pm),
UiTM v Sunday 2030 (8pm).
All matches at Pitch I and II of National
Stadium Bukit Jalil.