Sarjit Singh’s THT retained the TNB Cup for the fourth consecutive year since 2014 following a 5-4 victory over Charity Shield and Premier League champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 4-4 in regulation time.
They received the trophy from Terengganu Menteri Besar, YAB Haji Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman in front of an estimated 4,500 fans – of which almost 2,000 fans arrived in several buses from the east coast state to join their comrades residing in the city.
As the TNB Cup final ended in a draw in full time, both teams shared the total prize money of RM160,00O (RM80,000 each). The Malaysian Hockey Confederation had awarded RM100,000 to the winning team and RM60,000 to the runner-up.
The TNB Cup victory is THT’s second triumph in the 2017 MHL season after claiming the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup in January.
“This tournament is getting tougher by the year. We need to buy at least two or three new players. As for Jang, this is his third season with us and he is a key player and we will need him more in future,” said Sarjit.
“We knew we could make a comeback after going down 3-1 and we did just that. I am very proud of my players who played a great game against KLHC, who without doubt, are playing much better after each game. They have always been a tough team to beat in this league,” added Sarjit.
Germany’s Anton Poul Fritz Ebeling once again proved to be a bane to THT. The German, who scored the winning goal in KLHC’s 3-2 victory over THT in the last match of the Premier League two weeks ago which landed the KL outfit the title after a three-year wait, once again fired his side ahead with the opening goal in the ninth minute.
Korean Jang Jonghyun, however, lifted THT back into the game with the equaliser four minutes later via a penalty corner but drag-flick specialist Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim shot KLHC 2-1 ahead and Fritz Ebeling returned to score his second goal of the night as KLHC stretched their lead to 3-1.
In one of the most enthralling matches between the two heavyweights, it was THT who twice came back to level 3-3 through Jang – first via a penalty stroke in the 35th minute and the second through a penalty corner in the 49th minute. It was the Koreans 28th goal in the league this season.
The drama fast tracked into total entertainment after this with the two teams matching each other’s game, keeping the spectators at the stadium riveted from hooter to hooter.
KLHC once again dictated terms to go 4-3 up through Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof off a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute. Though KLHC dominated the last moments in the fourth quarter with the ball possession, they couldn’t quite make much of it as some of their ambitious attempts at scoring were promptly denied by goalkeeper Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman.
But a stroke of luck saw THT rebound to level 4-4 through Nicolas Enrique Della Torre with just three minutes remaining on the clock to take the game into penalty shootout.
THT were successful in all five penalty shootout attempts through Faizal Saari, Muhammad Firhan Ashaari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abd Jalil, Mohd Fitri Saari and Ahmad Shakeel Butt.
KLHC scorers were Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof, Meor Muhamad Azuan Hasan, Dedy Aryadi Jumaidi and Kleinschmidt Aaron Craig whilst youngster Joel van Huizen failed in his attempt.
Champion: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (RM100,000)
Runner-up: Terengganu Hockey Team (RM60,000)
Third-Placing: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (RM40,000)
Champion: Terengganu Hockey Team
Runner-up: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club
Man of the Match: Jang Jonghyun
Top Scorer: Jang Jonghyun (28 goals)
Fair Play: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School