Title holders Negeri Sembilan are set for a stern test of their credentials when they play Malaysian Premier League (MPL) champions ATM, in the first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-final tie tomorrow night.
The Deers will come across a few familiar faces in the match as five former Negeri players are expected to take to the field for The Gladiators. Hairuddin Omar, Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak, Farizal Harun and Irwan Fadli Idrus were part of Negeri’s winning team last year while veteran midfielder Rezal Zamberi Yahya represented them for five seasons from 2005-2010. Azraai Khor reportedly has no injury concerns ahead of the match and will again turn to Cameroonian hitman Jean Effa Owona for goals. The 28-year-old scored five times during the group stage.
Big spending ATM will be happy to have met their target of coming out of the group and are unlikely to be under much pressure to get a result in the match because of this. They will be missing defenders Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak and Amiridzwan Taj Tajuddin due to injuries. “These injuries have hampered our plans a bit,” head coach B.Sathianathan said of the duo’s absence. Sathia can at least be happy that chief striker Marlon Alex James is fit to lead the attack for the army men.
The match is set to kick-off at 8.45 pm and will be broadcast live on Astro Arena.