|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
ATM FA lost ground in their hunt for the Malaysian Super League title after their uninspiring 3-1 loss to the LionsXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
LionsXII captain Shahril Ishak’s goal was sandwiched between Shahfiq Ghani’s brace, while Marlon Alex James's goal was a mere consolation for coach B. Sathianathan.
"We did not play well and did not control the game," he admitted. "The LionsXII deserved the full three points."
Despite not taking advantage to close the gap at the top, the former Malaysia national team coach still maintains that the title race is far from over.
"LionsXII are dropping points away from home and each draw will cost them two points, and I think this is the worst game we [have] played this season, and the players have the character to bounce back for the next game," Sathianathan proclaimed.
Sathianathan soon took a very aggressive tone, as he was not pleased with how his team was treated by the hosts a day before the match.
"It is not easy when we play so many games on grass and we come to this type of pitch," he complained.
"Even the third goal was a mis-pass and a misjudgment of the ball.
"The only mistake I made was that I should have come to Singapore three days earlier and tried to get the permission to use this pitch [Jalan Besar]
"We did not even train here last night.
"For me this is unfair because the rules say that one day before the competition there must be no games played on the pitch.
"The rules apply everywhere and I was surprised with this because every turf is different. You can build another turf, but the usage of it determines the condition of the field.
"They offered me another artificial pitch, and I asked Kelantan about it; they said that it is totally different, so why should I waste my time?
"Next time, I will come one week earlier and try to get this field. But we can’t take the credit away from the LionsXII and Hariss Harun, who played well despite his injury."
ATM will next host PKNS FC at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on April 26, while the LionsXII will travel to Shah Alam a day later to take on the Red Giants of Selangor.