Felda United 0-1 ATM: Gladiators overcome stubborn Settlers
Felda United gave their all to stop Sathianathan's charges but were undone by a well-executed set piece
By Kin Fai
A tight match settled by a well-executed set piece. Captain, Hairuddin Omar lead by example as his header early in the match, earned ATM all 3 points at MPPJ Stadium.
Felda United started brightly and could have taken the lead as early the 4th minute. Leonel St. Preux was only a fraction too slow to connect to a wonderfully whipped low cross from Azrul Ahmad on the right flank for Felda.
Just 3 minutes later, ATM were unlucky not to be awarded an indirect free kick when Mohd Helmi in goal for Felda escaped with what looked like handling outside his penalty box. That came from a weak back header from Felda’s captain, Kaironnisam.
However, ATM took the lead just 2 minutes later when Hairuddin connected with RezalZambery’s well taken free kick and headed in the opening goal. Felda’s right back, AzmiziAzmi will bear the brunt of his team mates anger as he was the one who fouled Fitri Omar when there were no obvious danger.
It was clear that St. Preux was the main danger man for the home side as he drove from midfield in the 13th minute but his shot clipped off an ATM player. Luck was not with the home side as they didn’t even get the corner kick from that.
Debutant Nizaruddin Yusoff did well to get ahead of his marker in Mazowa to receive Fitri’s low cross but his diving header went just wide of Helmi’s goal post.
From then on, it was all about Felda as they searched for the equaliser. Midfielder, RiduwanMaon headed just over from the penalty spot in the 24th minute. Felda’s best chance probably came in the 29th minute when St. Preux put Mohd Akmal through on goal but the Felda winger hesitated with his decision and was eventually crowded out by the ATM defender who recovered fast.
The last action of the first half saw Azmi Muslim stupidly appended Thinagaran on the left side of Felda’s defence. The ensuing free kick was cleared for a corner kick, ATM’s 3rd of the match. ShukorAdan managed to get on the end of the corner kick but saw his header hit his own team mate. Referee, Sukri Abdul Rahman decided that was the last action of the half and promptly blew for half time.
K. Devan must have got his team motivated in the dressing room as Felda came out all guns blazing in the 2nd half. AzmiMuslim who famously scored a blinder against Arsenal, almost replicated that goal but this time saw his effort sailed above the crossbar.
Tension on the pitch were raised in the 52nd minute when Azrul clashed with IrwanFadzli. The referee had to step in to prevent the clash from escalating to something else.
Before the hour mark has passed in the match, both coaches made tactical changes. Devan brought in Razali Umar to give St. Preux a partner in attack while Satianathan tried to shore up his defence by bringing on AmiridzwanTaj for the fast tiring Nizaruddin.
Further change was made in the 66th minute by the home side as ShafizanHashim replaced Akmal. This allowed Mazoma to be pushed forward into midfield. Mazoma’s intricate passing was missed in midfield and he returned to the position he excelled when Felda last played at home against Perak.
Felda kept on piling the pressure and it was clear that ATM players were tired as they kept dropping deeper and deeper into their own half. The best opportunity for Felda to find the equalising goal, came in the 88th minute. No surprise that it was St. Preux again with the chance. Having found himself with space inside of ATM’s penalty box and with only Farizal to beat, his shot only managed to find the post and went out for a goal kick.
That’s how the game finished and ATM completed the double over Felda in this season’s Super League.
Marlon James may be missing but the Gladiators probably did just enough to earn their 4th consecutive win and all 3 point to go top of the league.
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