TNB THUNDERBOLTS narrowly secured the President Cup after defeating UiTM 3-1 on penalty shootouts today. Thunderbolts squandered a comfortable 2-0 lead to their opponent but eventually prevailed.
The TNB Malaysia Hockey League division one champions were slow off the blocks and if not for some fine goalkeeping by Saiful Amrie Basirun UiTM could have found themselves trailing 2-0 in the opening 10 minutes.
Muhammad Sabri Mohamed effort on goal was denied by a brilliant save from Saiful before the custodian once again came up with a telling save to stop Amir Zulkarnain Ahmad Robangi of Thunderbolts first penalty corner.
UiTM who edged past Thunderbolts in both of their league encounters 2-1 and 5-4 respectively, lacked creativity around the field and were finding tough to keep possession.
Thunderbolts raced forward and found the opening goal in the 25 minute from their third penalty corner of the game, a set piece play was comfortably slotted home by Zulkarnain.
A lead which they comfortably took into the half time break.
The half time team talk was well utilized by UiTM as they returned on the pitch looking much sharper.
However as UiTM pushed more man up front, Thunderbolts took the opportunity to double their lead in the 40th minute.
Zulkarnain penalty corner effort was well dealt with by Saiful, but the rebound was volleyed home by Azril Misron.
UiTM continued to push forward in numbers searching for a breakthrough and their hard work eventually paid off when Faheed Saifullah Shahrom Jamil reduced the deficit in the 49th minute from a penalty stroke.
The goal looked to have shaken the Thunderbolts players as ten minutes later they allowed UiTM to find the equalizer.
UiTM skipper Mohd Hanif Ibrahim pint-point cross into the Thunderbolts circle was deflected home by Mohd Akmal Mohd Tajuddin in the 59th minute.
Thunderbolts were left to defend in numbers and were lucky to stay in contention as UiTM went on to squander four penalty corners before the match was sent into extra time.
The game tempo toned down in extra time as tired legs creped in, but UiTM came within inches of sealing a remarkable comeback victory when Mohd Saiful Hafiz Jaafar’s effort was cleared of the goal line by Muhammad Fikri Bassar.
The game was eventually decided through penalty shootout, which Thunderbolts won 3-1.
How the shootout went:
Mahinder Singh (Goal)
Shahrusahadan Basri (Goal)
Muhammad Fikri Bassar (Miss)
Mohd Afzanizam Zakaria (Goal)
Muhammad Asraf Zulzali (Miss)
Mohd Hanif Ibrahim (Goal)
Mohd Muhsin Hamsani (Miss)
Ahmed Iqwan Shah Harun (Miss)