You can call it a lucky 13 for the Saari brothers, Faizal and Fitri.
The Terengganu duo stole the show by scoring in quick succession in the 13th minute en route to their team’s 3-0 win over Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium in Jalan Duta.
Faizal opened the scoring after converting a penalty stroke awarded for a foul by a UiTM player in the penalty area.
UiTM had no time to rue their error as seconds later, captain Fitri joined in the party by doubling the east coast side’s lead with a field goal.
The brothers’ quick-fire strikes gave Terengganu a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.
Terengganu then had to wait until the 57th minute to add their third goal when Mohd Umar Bhutta scored after a penalty corner attempt that deflected off UiTM goalkeeper Mohd Fitri Jasni.
It was Terengganu’s eighth win from 11 matches.
What made the win more special was Fitri’s determination to play despite having fever.
The 26-year-old Fitri was pleased with the win and his own performance.
“I just did my best. I did not want to let the team down despite being a little unwell, ” said a determined Fitri.
“Today, we just tried to keep it simple. We did not underestimate UiTM because they have beaten Maybank and drawn with TNB, so we had to take them seriously and play well.
“I am proud of the team as we managed to win comfortably. Earlier, we had struggled to beat smaller teams. We only got a narrow 3-2 win over TNB Thunderbolts. So I am happy with the team for showing improvement today, ” explained Fitri.
On the chances missed especially through penalty corners, Fitri admitted that his team had to improve their conversion rate.
“UiTM’s defending of penalty corners was good today. Their goalkeeper could read our attempts and save well. We have to take more of our chances or we will suffer in the future, ” said Fitri.
The skipper will now shift his focus to winning the TNB Cup with Terengganu.
“Our target now is to become overall champions (by lifting the TNB Cup) as we cannot win the league anymore, being too far behind leaders UniKL (Universiti Kuala Lumpur).
“So we will just try to do well in the rest of the league games, then focus fully on winning the Cup.”