Key Battles: Kelantan vs ATM

Goal looks at the 2013 Malaysia Cup semifinal second leg between the Red Warriors and the Gladiators to bring you the key battles that will take place in Kota Bharu this Friday.

One more match to decide who’s going to the 2013 Malaysia Cup final. Depending on the outcome, the match could finish within 90 minutes or go the distance even until the lottery of penalty kicks. With the margin only at one goal, both sides still stand a good chance to qualify for the final. The decisive factor could be down to the individual battles all over the pitch. Goal looks at the battles that might decide this tie.


Norfazly won the first battle last week at the Selayang Stadium. The central defender managed to get the better of Dickson Nwakaeme in the first 90 minutes and with Amirizdwan Taj seemingly injured, Norfazly looks likely to be asked to repeat his feat from last week. Unsurprisingly, Nwakaeme flourished after Norfazly went off injured in the first leg and the Nigerian would relish coming out on top, in his home ground. Despite his built, Nwakaeme is deceptively quick and with the better pitch condition at Kota Bahru, he will cause Norfazly more trouble.


This particular battle highlighted the first half of the first leg, last week. Christie Jayaseelan was pivotal in finding the equaliser for ATM but it was his wing play that caused Kelantan plenty of problems. For the secondleg, ATM fans will be hoping that Jayaseelan sees more of the ball and puts Zairol Fitree under more pressure. Zairol will have to be aware of Jayaseelan’s trickery on the ball and ensure that he employs a close marking on the nippy winger.


Affize Faizal was overrun in midfield during the first leg and he will be hoping for more support in the secondleg. His task will mainly revolve around nullifying the threat posed by the effervescent Badhri Radzi, the playmaker for Kelantan. Just like Zairol, Affize must not let Badhri out of his sights or risk ATM going further behind in the tie. For someone who is consistently good, it was a surprise to see Badhri struggle at Selayang Stadium, despite getting his name on the score sheet. With the home crowd behind him and playing in a familiar stadium, Badhri is bound to play better this time around. If he’s able to shake off the attention of Affize, those through passes to the wide men in Norfarhan Muhammad and Indra Putra Mahayuddin might illuminate this tie.


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