Kuala Lumpur Crowned Champions of 2023 Tun Abdul Razak Cup After 12 Years
BY: Michelle Liew
Kuala Lumpur broke their 12-year drought by clinching the 2023 Tun Abdul Razak Cup hockey championship, defeating Melaka 4-2 in a thrilling penalty shootout at the Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium on Saturday night.
The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after regular time. Amirullah Zainol put Melaka ahead with a field goal in the 13th minute, but Kuala Lumpur fought back, equalizing through Zulpidaus Mizun's field goal in the 29th minute. Melaka regained the lead with Amirullah's penalty corner goal in the 34th minute, but Kuala Lumpur responded again, leveling the score at 2-2 with V. Sriraam's goal in the 47th minute.
The match was decided in a penalty shootout, where Kuala Lumpur emerged victorious. Vikneswaran, the team's manager, expressed his surprise at the win, especially considering the young and relatively inexperienced lineup. He praised his players' passion and understanding of the game's technical and tactical aspects, emphasizing their original goal of winning the championship in the next few years.
In the third-place match, defending champions Perak secured their position by defeating Pahang 3-1 in a penalty shootout. On the women's side, Sabah caused a major upset by winning their first championship, defeating defending champions Selangor 2-1.
Selangor took the lead with Eliya Amanina Elias' early penalty corner goal, but Sabah equalized through Iren Hussin's field goal in the 18th minute. Cyrachild Rojos became Sabah's hero, scoring the winning goal in the 38th minute.
Sabah coach Hasrul Jideh hailed the victory as a significant achievement for Sabah hockey, citing the players' preparation since 2018 and their previous success in the Malaysian Games (SUKMA). Malacca claimed the third spot by defeating Kuala Lumpur 2-1 in the third-place decider.