ATM will be hosting Perak in what should be an enthralling Malaysia Super League fixture on Saturday night.
The Gladiators visibly got their season off to a frustrating start, falling 2-0 to Kelantan but they certain did show glimpses of what they are capable of. Equipped with Jerry Palacios, Norshahrul and Abdulafees on the offensive department, ATM created several opportunities within which these individuals could have found the back of the net; something that just never happened for them on that day.
So don’t pass on your judgement on them just yet. Because this weekend’s match against Perak presents the best opportunity for them to manifest a comeback. While Perak do have a solid squad and Sathia certainly acknowledges it, there’s no denying the fact that it’s a squad that lacks experience in defence. And that will be the perfect opportunity for ATM’s forwards, who are also equipped with impeccable upper body strength, to finally prove their mettle by consistently applying pressure on that Perak defence.
As for the away side, Datuk M. Karathu is no pushover. He’s been involved in the local football scene for over 40 years now and he knows exactly what needs to be done in situations like this. They are facing a side that’s physically superior, but Perak themselves have individuals who are slick enough to survive that threat. Nurridzuan Abu Hassan for instances, is extremely versatile and mobile down the wings; something they could certainly use against ATM.
That being said, coach Sathia’s squad has Obinna Nwaneri at the heart of their defence. The Nigerian defender is extremely composed in dealing with forwards and to a certain extent, he nullified the threat posed by Erwin Carillo of Kelantan last time out, despite the Colombian snatching a goal at the end of the day. Bobby Gonzales and Marco Tulio aren’t fit yet, meaning that Chad Souza will be handed the duty of spearheading Perak’s offence. Datuk M. Karathu has not been impressed with him thus far, but this match represents the perfect avenue for him to showcase his actual ability, which was largely visible when he consistently netted goals for PDRM last year.
Another individual that coach Sathia would be keeping an eye on is Namkung Woong, who also scored for Perak last time out. The South Korean can appear languid at times, but his positional awareness continues to cause defenders problem, especially as the game gradually progresses.
This match ultimately pits two teams with incredible different style of players and two managers who have massive amounts of experience. Those are usually ingredients for a terrific game of football. But only time will tell as to whether ATM will bounce back and seize three points or Perak will continue their impressive momentum by making it six points at the end of the night.