Malayisa Cup: Sathia happy, Sundram coy

Malayisa Cup: Sathia happy, Sundram coy
LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy (in black) and ATM coach B Sathianathan reacts during the first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-final match held at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 28 September 2013. LionsXII beat ATM 1-0.

There were no pumped fists, nor shakes of the head, indeed, neither LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy nor his ATM FA counterpart B Sathianathan betrayed any emotion when the final whistle went at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.

The game may have ended 1-0 in favour of the LionsXII, but this was first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-final - only halftime - with the second encounter scheduled on Friday in Selayang. It is a fact not lost on either coach.

"I knew that it would be difficult to come here and play, but I am happy," said Sathia, hardly sounding like a vanquished opponent. "It's not a mountain for us to climb, it's just a hill now."

Madhu Mohana headed in a Shahfiq Ghani corner five minutes before the break for the LionsXII to win the battle on the night, but the war is far from over.

The LionsXII missed several opportunities on the night, with Shahfiq the biggest culprit. Taking the slimmest of leads to Selayang, Sundram's charges could be in for a tough time.

"We are definitely confident," said Sathia, the former Malaysia national coach.

Sundram rued the failure of his charges to give themselves at least a two-goal cushion going into the second leg, but he can take heart from the fact that the LionsXII have never lost to ATM (in regulation time) in all five encounters since the Singapore side returned to Malaysian domestic football last year.

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