Defending champions KL Hockey club showed that they are a team to beat when they edged table toppers Maybank 4-3 at the National Hockey stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight. It was a commanding performance from the KLHC side who many had written of before the season got underway and the scoreline not reflective of KLHC's domination.
But the KLHC players showed steely determination, never affected by the reputation of being unbeaten that Maybank brought into this game. And KLHC plunged a knife into Maybank with a classy display combined with lethal finishing.
Both the teams were without one foreign player, Maybank was minus Shakeel abbasi who was out injured while KLHC had to do without Australia's Tim deavin who returned to Perth and will be back on Saturday.
KLHC took the lead in the 7th minute through Mohd Razie Rahim fired home their first penalty corner. And they doubled their advantage in the very next minute as Akhtar Ali fired home after Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor broke through on the right.
It was all KLHC after that but they failed to turn their domination into goals, despite being awarded penalty corners in the 14th and 15th minutes. Maybank were at sea as they were reduced to being mere spectators, with the KLHC players keeping a firm grip on matters.
However Maybank managed to reduced the deficit in the 34th minute when Syafiq Mohammad zain scored from a goal mouth melee.
The defending champions however were nota bout to let the chance to lead the standings go by and upped the ante in search of more goals. Muhammad Umar Bhutta made it 3-1 in the 41st minute and hardly had the Tigers recovered from that blow that Akhtar scored his second and KLHC's fourth three minutes later.
Maybank did not take things lying down and reduced the deficit through Dick Cheny Walli in the 59th minute via a penalty corner deflection. And Muhammad Irfan ensured a granstand finish when he scored in the 66th minute to make it 4-3.