ATM 0-0 Pahang: Top of the table clash ends in a draw
The Gladiators failed to take full advantage of playing at home to extend their lead at the top of the table as the Elephants held on for a goalless draw
By Muhammad Izzat Akmal Ismail
Both teams started defensively with a majority of the ball being played in the midfield area. Pahang was first to initiate pressure on the ATM defence when Azamuddin Akil's freekick was headed high over to bar by R. Gopinathan.
Several attempts from the Gladiators to penetrate the Elephants' back line failed miserably. Pahang's defenders were playing a high line and thus forced ATM to launch several long range shots, mostly from Marlon James. But his efforts were high and wide.
James had his chance to put his team ahead with some excellent footwork but his placed shot went straight to the goalkeeper. In just over a minute later, a one-two between Amirulhadi and Faizol opened the chance for Amirul to shoot, but his effort went wide.
Pahang were awarded a freekick after Azamuddin Akil was fouled outside the box. The freekick by Fauzi Roslan on the 26th minute was beautifully curled towards the goal, but Amiridzwan Taj was quick to block the ball out for a corner.
Rezal Zambry triggered an attacking move when his pass towards James almost gave ATM the lead. However, Pahang's defence succesfully overturned the move to launch a counter attack through Faizol Hussin whose shot was off target.
The trio of Amirulhadi, Azamudin and Fauzi couldn't do much in the first half. Compared to the ATM forwards who kept pressing Pahang to play defensively in their own half.Second half started with both teams doubling on their efforts. Pahang didn’t wait long with a long shot by Fauzi. The effort was finely saved by Farizal Harun.
Martelotto and James also have their best chances earlier on the second half, but they effectively wasted them.
Amiridzwan, in the 63rd minute, almost gave them the goal they were looking for. A corner taken by Rezal was met by his head but was denied by the crossbar.
Fauzi Roslan then wasted an opportunity to give Pahang the lead when he headed out a decent cross by Gopinathan.
Although there were several attacks from both teams, they still couldn’t break the deadlock.
Towards the end, Fauzi Roslan had his best chance when he brilliantly beat the ATM offside trap but his shot was saved on the line.
Despite the goalless draw, the match showcased a fascinating midfield battle between two teams at the top of their game. Their finishing however, left a lot to be desired.
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