Gladiators get their revenge to deny Red Warriors a historic quadruple
ATM avenged their Malaysia Cup final defeat to down Kelantan following a penalty shoot-out victory in the Charity Shield, after an enthralling 1-1 draw at the Shah Alam Stadium
By Mark Dawson
The first effort of the game fell to ATM’s Syazuan Hazami, an early substitute for Fainizam Nordin who suffered an injury one minute into his debut. It came following great pace shown on the counter attack by winger Venice Elphi, he did well to show composure and pick out Bruno Martelotto on the edge of the box and the forward played the ball into the path of Syazuan whose firm effort crashed back off the post.
In the 20th minute Kelantan had their first opportunity as new signing from Terengganu, Zairo Anuar Zailani, had an effort from distance. The strike had lots of power but was comfortably palmed out by Farizal Harun. ATM’s best chance of the half fell to Hairuddin Omar in the 37th minute, Martelotto got free down the right following Amirizdwan Taj’s long pass and cut the ball back to Hai-O, but his effort was a poor one as it failed to test the keeper.
Disaster almost struck for ATM before halftime following miscommunication between Farizal and Amirizdwan. The defender attempted to shepherd the ball back to his keeper but after little communication between the two, Amirizdwan passed the ball back to the onrushing Farizal who had to desperately palm it out. Keita Mandjou latched onto the loose ball and should have scored but he was too slow to take his chance and Farizal made a good recovery save on the line.
It was the Gladiators of ATM who dominated the first half with 59% possession and four shots to Kelantan’s two, however the Red Warriors shocked their opponents 10 minutes into the second half with the opening goal. Amirizdwan was dealing well with Mandjou but he was bizarrely replaced by Marlon Alex James, meaning that Shukor Adan dropped into defence. That decision by B. Sathianathan proved costly as within a minute Mandjou had held off Shukor and laid the ball back to Indra Putra who fired across Farizal into the corner of the net.
Mandjou had the ball in the back of the net following a fine through ball by Zairo, but was flagged offside as Kelantan began to dominate and the previously assured ATM seemed more panicked. In the 71st minute Mandjou again outmuscled Shukor Adan, allowing Badri Radzi to shoot from inside the box, he should have doubled his teams lead but stabbed wide. The Red Warriors again wasted a terrific opportunity to wrap up the game in the 81st minuite when substitute Zamri Ramli was put through on goal following Radzi’s fine pass, but Farizal made a good save before K. Reuban cleaned up the danger.
Just as it seemed as if ATM were dead and buried, they drew level following a beautiful 25 yard free kick into the top corner of the net by Irwan Fadzli Idrus, after the previously solid Obinna Nwaneri had felled Marlon James. Mandjou had a late chance to win it in the 89th minute, the ball bounced kindly for Zamri in the area and he played it across the box to the Guinean striker, but he was unable to get the ball out of his feet and his effort was blocked from 10 yards out.
The match ended 1-1 meaning that penalties were needed to decide the victor. The first six penalties were all scored before Rizal Fahmi Rosid and R. Surendran both were unsuccessful meaning that going into the fifth penalty it was already sudden death. Kelantan’s solid defender Daudsu Jamaludin struck the post with his penalty before Argentine Martelotto won the game for his team with an effort that keeper Syazwan Yusof got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
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