Johor Darul Takzim 2-2 ATM: Southern Tigers made to sweat for a point against Gladiators
Fandi Ahmad's star studded team were shocked by an early goal from the visitors, but twice came from behind to earn a second consecutive draw
|By Khalis Rifhan
Both Johor Darul Takzim and ATM shared the spoils at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, Larkin, after playing out a two-all draw on Friday night, with all goals scored in the first forty five minutes of the game.
The visitors needed only seven minutes to break the deadlock as defender Amirizwan Taj sent the ball beyond the hapless Zamir Selamat in goal for the Southern Tigers.
Former Spain international Dani Guiza has probably been the most consistent player so far this season in the star studded team Johor team, and again here he was spotted in all areas of the field assisting in their defending and also instigating to their attacks.
With all his work rate and discipline it was not a surprise when ten minutes later, Guiza sent the home crowd wild with an equalizing goal.
With the scoreline at one-a-piece, the game took a more balanced shape with both sides having their share of the ball but being unable to penetrate their respective opponent's backline.
With the clock ticking down to the half time whistle, both teams again netted. Firstly it was the Gladiators who took the lead again in the 38th minute, through a well taken freekick from Irwan Fadzli.
But the joy was short-lived as the hosts went on the offensive from the re-start and former Kelantan striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha leveled the score for his team within a minute.
The second half saw the visitors introduce former Harimau Muda A player Affizie Faizal, replacing Shukor Adan, and following this the tempo of the game was visibly raised.
Midway through the half, both teams made substitutions with Zaquan Adha and Hairuddin Omar coming on for Johor and ATM respectively as they look to introduce fresh legs and get the decisive winning goal of the night.
The introduction of Hairuddin for the visitors added spark to their attack, but any possible thought of three points was soon diminished for coach B. Sathianathan as his team were reduced to ten men in the closing stages with the sending off of Fitri Omar eight minutes from time.
But with a one men advantage for the final stages of the game, Fandi Ahmad’s boys were not able to muscle their way past the disciplined ATM’s backline and were made to be content with a second consecutive draw.
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