|MAN OF THE MATCH
Selangor 2-3 ATM
In the second round of the 2013 Malaysia Cup, last year’s finalists ATM faced a monumental task when they made the trip to the Shah Alam Stadium to take on Selangor.
Hairuddin Omar unexpectedly opened the scoring for the Gladiators and created several chances that led to the other two goals on top of opportunities that could have extended their lead even further.
He set up Fitri Omar and Christie Jayaseelan; first, towards the end of the opening 45 minutes and later in the second half which saw ATM take a 3-1 lead till the dying minutes of the game.
Amri Yahyah’s first half strike along with S. Kunanlan’s last-gasp goal was not enough to overcome Hai-O and co.
The 33-year-old midfield stalwart was at the top of his game as he nullified the efforts of Selangor’s S. Veenod and K. Gurusamy who were left chasing shadows for almost the entirety of the match.
Hai-O pulled the strings with his vision and pinpoint passing to find his partner in midfield, Bruno Martelotto and striker Marlon Alex James.
It was his exquisite creativity with the big forward that eventually got the ball rolling for the Gladiators' second goal, leaving the Red Giants’ defence in sixes and sevens.
The second half saw an even better performance for the veteran after he exerted his dominance for the next 45 minutes in the middle of the park.
Add to that his defensive prowess that saw him clear Kunanlan’s attempt off the line when goalkeeper Farizal Harun was clearly beaten to preserve ATM’s lead, Hai-O was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch in Selangor.