The Gladiators' head coach, B. Sathianathan praised his players for an excellent showing that turned around the one-goal advantage the LionsXII had over ATM in the quarterfinal
It was the biggest lost for the LionsXII since they were defeated by Kelantan 3-0 in the Malaysian Super League.
A hat-trick by Marlon James and an own goal by the Lions' Hariss Harun sank the Singaporeans' hopes of recording the double.
ATM’s boss, B. Sathianathan quickly responded to the result, giving full credit to his players who had done well in controlling the match and eventually winning it convincingly.
“We were not at our best in Jalan Besar, and today our boys did a great job, putting the ball in the net four times,” Sathia said after the game.
After a goal drought of sorts, Marlon Alex James suddenly stole the limelight when he was merciless in tearing the LionsXII defence apart to score his first hat-trick in the Malaysia Cup.
“I always have faith in Marlon even when he’s having a hard time to score, and he showed up tonight with a great performance,” Sathia added.
“He deserves his hat-trick.”
Although they made it to the semifinals, the Gladiators surely paid an expensive price when Amiridzwan Taj was shown a straight red card late in the match.
This will force the team to play against Johor Darul Takzim or Kelantan in the semifinal without their key defender.
Nonetheless, the ATM coach kept his calm and stated that it will not be a big problem replacing Amiridzwan.
“Amiridzwan Taj has to learn from his mistake,” Sathia asserted.
“But for the upcoming semifinal, we still have several other players to take his spot.
“I’m glad we did it, but the result did not come easily.
“The LionsXII had a really good team, and my players deserve this victory after what they have done,” Sathia concluded.