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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Match Day 4

We're almost at the end of the 2014 Selangor Floorball League and one thing that's certainly been unveiled is the unmistakable level of progression in a number of teams, where they have stepped up and burgeon to match the veteran teams of the league. Could this season be the turning point for all the forthcoming leagues? Well, we certainly hope so as competitiveness on a high-tempo leveled playing field could bolster not only the league, but Floorball as a whole in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan as well - consequently spreading to the other states of Malaysia. We hope. 

Anyhow, enough of chitter chatter - let's get down to the reviews of last week's matches.

Red Phoenix vs Subang Rascals
We are all aware that Red Phoenix has put on such an unbelievable performance this season, tearing every team apart in its path. They marched past Gang Bintang, ZAP Floorball Club and GMI White Knights with ease - simply a phenomenon. Clearly, these players have evolved tremendously and now are making a name for themselves. With their biggest match yet this season against the giants of the league, a win would be as valuable as receiving the grand trophy itself.

With swift pace, a determined spirit and teamwork, Red Phoenix battled the giants hard all over the court. Their tactics proved successful when Azizul netted in a goal in the 15th minute to the un-believe of Subang Rascals. Entering the break one up was bliss for Red Phoenix, and pressure for Subang Rascals as they realize that they were up against no ordinary opponent.

Things picked up in the second period, and it was Red Phoenix that found the net again thanks to Amir Naqiuddin. Pressure mounted on Subang Rascal's bench and they knew they had to step up or step out with their heads low. Sjaiful rose to the occasion to respond on behalf of his team, bringing Rascals back into the game in the 13th minute after an assist by Suresh. Dennis then put both teams back on leveled terms in the 19th minute.

Scrambling to their boards, both teams got busy during the break as they tried to uncover each other's Achilles' heel. With the start of the third period, Subang Rascals was obviously the more aggressive and determined team. Pressuring Red Phoenix for every ball all over the court, Red Phoenix simply could not handle the pressure as waves of attacks came rolling in. During the 2nd minute, it was Suresh whom found the net after shooting from the central half court area - the ball deflected off Adi's leg and rolled into the back of the net. A sigh of relief came over the Rascals as they knew that they were very much back in business.

After that, it was all Rascals all the way with Sjaiful grabbing a much deserved hatrick - scoring one after a silly defensive error by Red Phoenix. Just over 10 minutes into the third period, the game was already decided as the scoreline was in favor of Rascals 7-2. Mohd Asif however, added a consolation in the final minute, giving Red Phoenix one more goal against the giants.

Red Phoenix 3 - 7 Subang Rascals

*Towards the end of the match, there was some scuffling on court between both teams. The Selangor Floorball Association is currently investigating the involvements of certain individuals, and will take necessary action as the association does not condone un-sportsmanship and violence in Floorball. 

GMI White Knights vs Gang Bintang   
With both teams yet to win any of their games this season, both GMI White Knights and Gang Bintang entered the court hungered by a desire to leave triumphant. Crippled by a lack of players in every match (except against Salibandy!Co), Gang Bintang has been struggling to keep pace and breath throughout this season. GMI White Knights however, has been impressive in their last match against derby rivals, Red Phoenix.

In the first period, GMI White Knights recorded 16 shots, which was twice as many as what Gang Bintang had. That being said, it was accuracy and quality that dominated this time around as opposed to quantity. That being said, let's not take all the credit from Apec, the man in between the posts whom managed a few incredible saves from close range.

Khalid opened the scoring books in this match by gracefully receiving a long high ball from Taqi before chipping it past a defender and tapping it into the goal - a classic Khalid finish. Khalid was also involved in Gang Bintang's second goal when he made a precise pass from a free hit to the far end of the goalpost, where Daeng was prowling to tap in the easiest of goals.

Gang Bintang continued to dominated the second period of the match with more goals coming from Khalid (2) and Ruben (1). GMI White Knights however, responded via Abd Rahman as he marvelously swung the ball through an acute angle from the far left of the court, into the right top corner. Gang Bintang thought they already had the win in the bag. But little did they know that GMI White Knight was willing to fight till the end.

The third period displayed a more intense and competitive game, as compared to the first two period. GMI White Knights found new strength in the legs and a rejuvenated spirit to score two goals in quick succession. However their hopes of making a remarkable comeback came to a halt when Khalid made another trademark no-looking-precise-pass at a free hit to Azim, whom slapped shot the ball beautifully into the back of the net - leaving the keeper helpless. Although GMI White Knights gave their very best in the third period, it wasn't enough to topple the former champions. That being said, one wonders what the results would have been if GMI White Knights went all out from the first whistle. With all that pace, spirit and energy, things could have been different..

GMI White Knights 5 - Gang Bintang 8

ZAP vs Salibandy!Co
Grabbing their maiden victory last week (and a much needed one to boost the team's morale), ZAP came to Puchong hunting for a consecutive victory however, they knew that it won't be easy to add another win to their tally. The intensity in the atmosphere was evident from the beginning of the match with Salibandy!Co going all-out to assert pressure on their opponents. Handling the pressure well, ZAP with key players Adrian, Gary, Michael and Terence (ZAP) managed to turn Salibandy!Co's full-press into a counter-attack a number of times, sending their opponents scrambling back to their own half. After a few wasted chances, Salibandy!Co's results from their efforts began to emerge. Collecting the ball behind the ZAP goalpost, Terence (Salibandy!Co) dribbled past two players from the side, agilely squeezing past them towards the centre before taking a swift shot at goal - giving the goalie no chance at all!

That glimmer of brilliance threw the whole Salibandy!Co bench off to congratulate their star forward, whom has already made an impression in Selangor/Wilayah, and some say Penang. About five minutes later on the stroke of the interval, Daniel Phang made ZAP pay for their sloppiness in making a change after slapping in a pass from Philip, which came all the way from Salibandy!Co's half. Entering the interval with 2 goals down, ZAP went straight to business, to find a way back into the game.

Their efforts, had an immediate effect as just 8 seconds after the start, Michael brought the ball down the right side of the boards and smacked a backhand shot towards goal. A blunder (some might say) as the ball whizzed under Colin's crotch and into the goal. Celebrating his pot of luck, Michael and the whole ZAP team couldn't contain their jubilation. As each team threw waves of attack against each other's walls of defense, Salibandy!Co showed once again that they were in-charge of the game. During a chaotic moment inside ZAP's D-box, Alvin managed to tap the ball into the back of the net, taking advantage of the confusion among the ZAP players.

Towards the end of the second period, ZAP looked like they would once again put the ball into the back of the net as they controlled the ball in Salibandy!Co's half, creating numerous opportunities. Then came the moment as Jeremy cleared the ball to Terence's (ZAP) blade, setting him up in an almost perfect situation by accident. Taking the shot quickly, the ball flew swiftly and out of reach of Colin's grasps. ZAP were gifted a lifeline.

The pressure was increased by a few notches in the third period as both teams were only separated by a goal. The Alvin and Andrian combination however, proved once again to be deadly as they have been in previous matches - Alvin bagging another goal under his belt. The match ended with a sense of accomplishment from Salibandy!Co as they march on to their next match in which, would decide the runner-up position for the Selangor Floorball League. ZAP however, would need to go back to their playbook but most importantly, learn to play as a team first.

ZAP 2 - 4 Salibandy!Co


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