Malaysia Cup: ATM wary of Hariss danger

Malaysia Cup: ATM wary of Hariss danger
The LionsXII did not practise penalty kicks yesterday though they bowed out of the Malaysia Cup in the semi-finals last year on spot-kicks. They meet their conquerors then - ATM - again tonight in Selayang. The Singapore outfit have a 1-0 lead in the two-legged tie

There is Shahril Ishak, the talismanic captain and leading scorer for the LionsXII.

There is Isa Halim, the tireless, hard-tackling midfield terrier.

And do not forget Baihakki Khaizan and Safuwan Baharudin, arguably the finest centre-back pairing in South-east Asia.

But ATM coach B. Sathianathan is especially wary of another LionsXII player, ahead of Friday evening's Malaysia Cup quarter-final second leg at the Selayang Stadium in Selangor.

"Hariss Harun," the 55-year-old told The Straits Times. "He's their key player."

And for good reason too.

With the tie finely poised at 1-0 to the Singapore outfit, Hariss will have a major role to play at both ends of the pitch.

Long considered a defensive midfielder, he is no stranger to putting his 1.78m, 73kg frame to good use as a shield in front of the defence line.

But since joining V. Sundramoorthy's side last season, the Singapore international has found himself being pushed further and further forward.

In fact, he is the team's joint top scorer of this Malaysia Cup campaign with two goals to date.

"He brings a balance of attack and defence," Sathianathan said.

"It's very hard to devise a plan to stop him because he doesn't play just one position."

Hariss himself admits that adapting to different roles is a big part of becoming an all-round midfielder.

He is certainly pumped up for this evening's clash as he prepares to take his place in a five-man midfield anchored by the reliable Isa.

"I definitely feel like I can do a job for the team," said the 22-year-old.

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