FORMER champions SMK Seksyen 11 of Selangor gained some measure of respect in the Under-14 Minister of Education League Cup (MELC) 2011 this week when they edged SMK Putera 1-0 in a clash of former champions.
SMK Seksyen 11 were the inaugural winners of the MELC in 2008 but last week in their first game of the new season, they were humiliated 2-0 by SMK Seri Kota of Melaka.
But this time round, playing against SMK Putera – the 2009 champions – it gave them the impetus to be cagier at the back to score the only goal of the game from Muhammad Afiq Muhammad Azam in the 53th minute.
“We played our real game today although the finishing was not that good where we missed a few good chances. We did have much of a pre-season, so that means we still have to work a lo harder,” said Mat Dinos Talib, the chief coach of SMK Seksyen 11.
“I think that we are playing at around 80% of what we are capable of considering that we are playing with the majority of players coming from Form 1.”
SMK Putera, who had picked up their first full points in their first game of the season against SMK Za’aba of Negeri Sembilan the previous week, felt that playing away twice in their first two games of the season was the cause of their downfall.
“We played two away games already and next week, we will also be travelling to Penang. The players are tired travelling back to back although we won against Negeri Sembilan last week,” added Mohd Hanapiah Awang, the chief coach of SMK Putera.
“With lack of rest, it brings our performance down. But this is no excuse as we will try to play at our best in the next match away although this time round, Selangor deserved to win.”
In the meantime, SMK Tabuan Jaya of Sarawak have emerged as the surprise leaders in Group A with four points from two games where they followed up their away win over SMK Mutiara Impian from Pulau Pinang last week with a 1-1 draw against SMK Za’aba of Negeri Sembilan.
Mohd Ariff Sazwan Razali’s early goal for the homesters in the 13th minute was erased by Sarawak’s Abang Nur’Afirman Abang Norazman in the second half.
In Group B, SMK Syed Hassan of Perlis lead the group – also with four points from two matches.
After beating SMK Peter Monjuntin of Sabah 3-1 at home last week, the side from the north held Bandar Penawar Sports School to a scoreless draw this time round.