86th season of the prestigious Malaysia Cup will come to its grand finale this Saturday 20.10.2012 with ATM and red hot Kelantan as the finalist. The 2012 campaign started on 24 August 2012 with total 16 teams. Now after grueling two months only two teams left standing. Kelantan the team that already won Super League and FA Cup surely wanted to complete this season glorious with treble. Kelantan had won it once in year 2010 and three times losing finalist in 1955, 1970 and 2009. While ATM, the conqueror of Premier League will experience their third final after 1949 and 1966. Both as the losing finalist.
I was once fanatic of local football but interest had been reclining for many years. My passion now always Manchester United. May be the quality was the main reason or the way our local tv production showing the live games made the games dull and not lively. Not to mention the syok sendiri live commentator.
But my dogma suddenly changed when I saw the ATM against Lions XII second leg game. Both came into the game with 1-1 tied from the first leg. So it much any team game with ATM had slightly had the advantage as it was played at their own turf of Stadium Selayang.
What surprised me was the quality of the game. Albeit series of foul throws, both team showed fantastic and great performance. The tactical of both teams was equal. Lions game plan was to get an early goal than dig deep to defense. And the ATM started shelling the Lions right from the start. ATM movement was great. The passing was sharp and the wingers dribble the ball confidently. Their pace made a lot of trouble to the Lion defenses. The ball control of ATM players also surprising good.
Though ATM was much better team it was the Lions who took the lead. The deflected shot by Agu Casmir left the ATM goalkeeper had not chance. But the ATM never gave up. They kept trying until the last minutes. And Marlon Alex James scored right at the death. I already changed the tv channel as I can’t see the soldiers lost after producing a good game. To my surprised when changed back to the games it was in extra time. And in 30 minutes added time it was all ATM. Then Lions was reduced to 10 men. Still the Lions hanging out and took the games into the shootout. And it was more drama in the penalty shootout that made your heart beating wild. It was like Man United vs Chelski in UCL 2008 final. Finally it was ATM that soldier on to the final.
The great game between ATM and Lions made me anxiously to see the other semi final between Selangor vs Kelantan. It was also a very good game but cannot match ATM vs Lions.
Well both ATM and Kelantan are good teams. Kelantan might cripple a little bit after losing Gaddar and Nor Farhan for yellow card but they still very dangerous. Noh Shahrul still among the best striker in Malaysia. The moody Indera Putra could still producing unexpected magic. Nurul Azwan Roya the industrialist midfielder will keep the engine running. Kelantan also have Malaysia best goalkeeper in Apek.
ATM for me is the complete team. Marlon is exceptional striker though he is 35. Hai-O who played just behind him is a great leader. He also controlled the midfield well and scored many too. In midfield Bruno Marteloto or I called him Luca Modric, could match the creativity of Nurul Azwan Roya. I believed he is much better than his counterpart. His skill, passing and vision created a lot of openings. And he is also good in tackling. Both ATM flankers are very effective too, Zaquan on the right and Christie on the left. Their speed and skill could beat the fullbacks easily. The backfour also fantastic with both fullback doing the overlapped supporting the attacks. Only in goalkeeper department Kelantan is much better.
I believed ATM will win.