KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) coach Arul Selvaraj wants his boys to start playing like champions following the 3-2 defeat to Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in Friday's Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division match in Bukit Jalil.
Selvaraj's university outfit, led by six foreign players and three Malaysian internationals, headed into the match hoping for a positive start after exiting the semi-final stage of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup last week.
National player Ramadan Rosli gave TNB the lead in the 24th minute but Dutchman Jeroen Dolf Hertzberger levelled for UniKL in the 38th minute from their third penalty corner attempt.
TNB, however, regained their lead from a penalty stroke through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abd Jalil three minutes later.
UniKL rallied back with Hertzberger netting the equaliser in the 45th minute.
Syed Mohd Syafiq Syed Cholan scored the winner for TNB five minutes later.
"It wasn't a nice start to the league for us but it is not the end.
"We must now look at how best we can get back and play a much better game.
"If we want to be champions than we should start playing like champions."
"I am confident that they (players) will click as a team with more matches. "Today, some players just over did it in their performance and that caused this defeat.We just have to play as a team," said Arul.
TNB coach Nor Saiful Zaini attributed the victory to hard work.
"I am very excited and happy with this win.
"It will help build confidence of our youngsters.
"My players showed their mental strength to stay in the game and win every ball till the end.
"It showed that they have the ability to comeback and win matches," said Nor Saiful.
In an earlier match, TNB Thunderbolts overcame Maybank 2-1.
Australian Wookey Oscar William fired Maybank ahead in the eighth minute from a penalty stroke but defender Arif Syafie Ishak restored parity for Thunderbolts with a penalty corner conversion in the 43rd minute.
Arif Sabron surprised the fancied Maybank with a field goal in the 59th minute.