01 Mar 2014

During the pre season, UniKL Young Guns were touted as the team to beat in the Milo Junior Hockey League.

But things are going horribly wrong for them as not only were they soundly beaten to the Division One League title by defending champions SSTMI Thunderbolts, but they are struggling in the chase for the Milo Cup.

UniKL struggled to defeat second division champions Politeknik KPM 3-2 in the first leg of the knockout competition last Friday.

And at the rate they are performing, they could well end up licking their wounds when the second leg match is completed tomorrow. ( Sunday )

Tactically UniKL are woeful, lacking cohesion, devoid of ideas, over flamboyant and above all think that teams will yield when they step onto the pitch.

The aura of invincibility that UniKL teams of the past used to display is today a myth as the team plays like novices, despite having some of the best juniors in the country.

Also missing is UniKL's 12th man - their supporters group Ultras who provide the moral boost from the stands that drives the team forward.

Politeknik KPM lacked the composure and know how on how to control the pace of the game and paid the price by conceding the winning goal nine minutes from time.

"We struggled for large parts of the game and this probably was due to the fact that the players were too eager to seal the tie," said UniKL Young Guns manager Mohd Faiz Isa.

"Conceding the early goal put further pressure on the team and that compounded matters.

"Only in the final ten minutes did we play hockey we are capable off.

"For the return leg we need to thread with caution and not allow them to score as that will boost their confidence."

Faiz said that he was optimistic UniKL will make the last four and their performance will improve on Sunday.

The other quarterfinal ties are a mere formality.

SSTMI Thunderbolts hold an 8-0 lead over MS Pahang Juniors. And it will be more of a Sunday stroll for them in the return leg.

"We are a young side and considering that making the last eight was a good achievement," said MS Pahang coach Benedict Arrias.

"Let's be honest, Thunderbolts are a class side and we hope that one day our players too will play with the same confidence as our opponents do."

For Bukit Jalil Sports School, they are not prepared to throw in the towel yet although they trail Petaling Jaya City Council 4-1.

"We need to score an early goal to get back into the tie," conceded BJSS coach S.Prakash.

"We made far too many mistakes in defense and could have avoided the heavy defeat had we played with more confidence.

"Still I believe that we can bounce back if we show determination from the first whistle."

Malacca High School also trail Olak-PKT by a 4-1 margin and really have themselves to blame.

They played without purpose in the first leg and it could be attributed to the long layoff.

But Olak are playing with renewed confidence and should make it through to the last four, a creditable achievement for a Division Two side who missed the 2010 edition through financial troubles, the only time they did not play in the MJHL since it's inception in 1995.

Fixtures. Sunday

1600H - UniKL Young Guns v Politeknik KPM - NHS 1

1600H - Petaling Jaya CC v Bukit Jalil Sports School - NHS 2

1800H - Olak-PKT v Malacca High School - NHS 1

1800H - SSTMI Thunderbolts v MS Pahang Juniors - NHS 

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