Defending champions Perak are walking on a tightrope after going down to a surprise 3-2 defeat by Selangor in a Group A match in the MHC-Milo Under-16 hockey championships in Kangar.
Perak need to win their two remaining group matches – against Sabah and Kedah – if they hope to make the semi-finals.
In yesterday’s game, Mohd Fikri put Selangor ahead in the 11th minute with a field goal. Perak fought back to equalise in the 34th minute through Mohd Najme.
Selangor regained the lead through Faqrazin Safri Afiq’s 38th minute strike before Mohd Syazwan made it 3-1 in the 57th minute.
Perak reduced the deficit in the 62nd minute through Mohd Alif Ikhmal.
Perak assistant team manager Hairul Nizam Rani admitted that they have their backs against the wall after the loss.
“Yes, it was a poor performance. But I’m confident we will bounce back in the last two games. The semi-final berth is still wide open,” he said.
“The players missed a lot of chances against Selangor and our penalty corner executions did not go the way we planned.”
Perak had won their two earlier matches – beating Perlis 2-1 and Pahang 3-1.
Yesterday’s win was Selangor third in as many matches and their remaining games are against Pahang and Kedah.
In Group B, former champions Kuala Lumpur topped the group with maximum points after thrashing Sabah 5-1 for their second straight win.
Mohd Haziq Hisyamuddin scored a hat-trick in the 21st, 61st and 70th minutes while Ahmad Firdaus Azmi bagged a brace in the second and 12th minutes.
Sabah’s consolation goal was scored by Mohd Shafie Jamdin in the 41st minute.
In another Group B match, Penang edged Johor 2-1.
Mohd Amirul Hamizan scored both the Penang goals in the 29th and 61st minutes while Johor replied through Mohd Shafiq in the 53rd minute.