Seasoned campaigners beat Maybank despite Akhimullah’s lack of form

National forward Mohd Akhimullah Anuar Esook was a little off form but it did not stop Tenaga Nasional from winning again in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Tenaga powered by 13 national players pulled off a 2-0 win over Maybank at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday but the 19-year-old Akhimullah lost his scoring touch in his third consecutive match in the league.

He had been on fire by scoring a total of three goals in the first two matches, one against TNB Thunderbolt and two against Kedah-Nurinsafi last week.

While Akhimullah struggled, defender Syed Mohd Syafiq Syed Cholan stepped up to give Tenaga the lead in the 22nd minute off a low drag flick penalty corner that sailed past goalkeeper Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris.And seven minutes later, Mohd Arif Syafie Ishak sounded the board off another penalty corner to make it 2-0.

Tenaga could have increased the score but failed to capitalise many chances they had in the matches.

Akhimullah was clearly disappointed with his game as he hardly made any effort to score a goal.

“I started the league well by netting three goals in the first two matches and was hoping to score again but I was totally off form today, ” said Akhimullah.

“I could not make a proper attempt at goal. I’m really disappointed with my game. I’ll buck up and perform better in the next match.”

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini admitted Akhimullah was not in the game at all.

“I don’t know what happened to him in this match. He needs to wake up and start playing like a national player, ” said Nor Saiful.

“Overall, the team did not play well either. We conceded three penalty corners in the first quarter before we started making some progress in the match.

“Our strikers were just not playing their normal game. We need to work on their fitness level, ” he said.

For the Tigers, it was their first defeat in three matches.

At the adjacent stadium, Terengganu trounced Kedah-Nurinsafi 8-2 while league champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) also hammered Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) 7-0 at the Tun Razak Stadium to record their third straight win.

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