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NST Online: Sports

Hockey: UniKL keep perfect record

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 04:28 PM PST

By Ajitpal Singh

UniKL’s Philipp Stahr (left) gets past  YNS players in their match yesterday. UniKL won 2-1. — Picture by  Mohd Yusni Ariffin

UniKL's Philipp Stahr (left) gets past YNS players in their match yesterday. UniKL won 2-1. — Picture by Mohd Yusni Ariffin

UNIVERSITI Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)-TRC caused the biggest upset while Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) returned to their winning ways in the Premier Division of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

UniKL-TRC earned their second victory in as many matches by edging a more fancied Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) 2-1 before KLHC, the defending champions, stamped their supremacy with a convincing 6-2 win over Sapura.

YNS were slightly off balanced with the absence of Pakistan internationals Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Raashid and Muhammad Waqas Sharif and failed to produce a decent performance yesterday.

They, however, took the lead through Arvind in the 19th minute but New Zealand international Richard Patherick equalised three minutes later from a penalty corner set-piece for the university side.

Patherick scored his second and the winning goal with another well executed drag flick from a penalty corner five minutes before half time. The Kiwi has now scored five goals in two matches.

In total, YNS were awarded six penalty corners but they failed to convert any of them.

YNS coach Hasnizam Al Sim said the absence of the three Pakistan signings affected the team's performance yesterday.

"Imran, Raashid and Waqas had returned to Pakistan to play for their employers in the National Games," said Hasnizam at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

UniKL-TRC coach Darren Smith was happy with the outcome.

"We played relatively well and it was three hard earned points for us. Maybe we were lucky as YNS did not have their full side," said Smith.

"My boys were more settled compared to their previous match. We were strong in defence as we did not give much room to YNS especially their star player Shakeel Abbasi in the semi-circle.

"My forwards also played a tremendous match but they can be better. I think the team will improve as the tournament progresses."

In another match, KLHC, after their 2-0 defeat in their opening match, were in devastating form as they raced to a 4-0 lead at half time, courtesy of a brace each from Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Abdul Jalil and former international Chua Boon Huat.

Muhd Razie Abd Rahim and Azlan Misron added to KLHC while penalty corner specialist S. Kuhan scored a brace for Sapura in the second half.

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Cycling: Legendary Belgian team return to Langkawi

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 04:26 PM PST

BELGIAN team Landbouwkrediet will return to Le Tour de Langkawi after a four-year absence. They are set to strengthen the field of the Malaysian hors categorie race from Jan 23-Feb 1.

This is a legendary team as the Belgian agricultural bank has been a faithful backer of the team for 10 years.

Landbouwkrediet stepped in way back in 2001 but the squad, managed by Gerard Bulens, were initially named Saxon, and then Tönissteiner were created in 1992.

"Not many cycling teams manage to celebrate their twentieth anniversary," said the founder who has put stability as his priority while other managers have tried to get their organisation to grow too fast and eventually forced to close the business.

Landbouwkrediet made the headlines in the winter season with their cyclo-cross super star Sven Nys, but their road team look well prepared to take over as early as in January.

They will be coached at LTdL by former Tour de France stage winner Marco Saligari who participated in the event himself in 1997, the year the Malaysian event kicked off on the island of Borneo.

The Landbouwkrediet team will look at building foundation for the European races dedicated to sprinters.

They have an interesting mix of young and experienced riders with 37-year-old Geert Verheyen to guide the beginners.

Finishing second at GP of Frankfurt in 2010, he's still very competitive. LTdL will give exposure to two of the most promising prospects of Belgian cycling who finished the 2010 season on a high note -- Joeri Stallaert who came seventh in the Paris-Tours under-23 category and Baptiste Planckaert who was fifth overall in the HC Tour de Vendée.

Baptiste has no family relation to the famous brothers and sons Willy, Walter, Eddy, Jo and Francesco Planckaert but his father Ignaas has made the record books for finishing second in the 1980 Circuit des Ardennes, one place ahead of eventual Tour de France triple champion Greg LeMond.

His grandfather Willy Truye was also a professional cyclist from 1955 to 1962 and he won the famous French one day race GP of Isbergues in 1957.

Landbouwkrediet line-up -- Team Manager: Marco Saligari; Riders: Davy Commeyne, Sébastien Delfosse, Benjamin Gourgue, Baptiste Planckaert, Joeri Stallaert and Geert Verheyen (all Belgians).

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